‘Improbable’ Sturgeon did not tell husband about Salmond meeting – Rees-Mogg

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed it is “improbable” that Nicola Sturgeon did not share with her husband the contents of a meeting she had with her predecessor.

Scotland’s First Minister met with Alex Salmond in her home on April 2 2018, where he outlined complaints of sexual harassment made against him.

Earlier this week, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell – who is Ms Sturgeon’s husband – said he is aware the meeting took place, but not what it involved.

Appearing before the Scottish Parliament’s Committee Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Mr Murrell said: “Every single day, Scottish Government business is not relayed to me.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood
Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood

“Nicola is very confidential about the process – she has been a minister for a very long time and we just do not talk about Government business.”

But speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Mr Rees-Mogg expressed doubt over Mr Murrell’s evidence.

In response to a question from SNP MP Tommy Sheppard about next year’s Holyrood election, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “(Mr Sheppard) doesn’t want to get on to the rather juicy gossip that’s coming out of the SNP as well.

“What do we have? That the chief executive of the SNP, when he’s at home, never talks about politics to the First Minister, no, of course, he only talks about cooking.

“Well, it makes it sound as if his household is even more old-fashioned than mine because I must confess that in the Rees-Mogg household we spend a lot of time talking about politics and I must confess that it seems improbable that such a highly-politicised family never talks about such interesting things.”

Ms Sturgeon defended her position during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood on Thursday, saying she is not the “office gossip”.

Under questioning from Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson, she told MSPs: “On the issue of conversations, or lack of conversations with my husband – I sometimes feel that the opposition here is revealing more about themselves than they are about me.

“The fact of the matter is, I am First Minister of Scotland, I deal with confidential matters every single day of my life, these range from national security matters through to market sensitive commercial matters and a whole range of things in between.

“I don’t gossip about these things, even to my husband.

“I am the First Minister of the country, not the office gossip, and I take my responsibilities in that role extremely seriously.”