Sturgeon: Nobody can reduce Salmond’s impact on independence movement

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed nobody can reduce her predecessor’s impact on the Scottish independence movement, despite fractures within her own party.

The First Minister of Scotland made the comments about Alex Salmond during an interview with the Irish Times on Thursday.

It comes amid a Holyrood committee inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints made against the former politician and allegations of conspiracy.

She said: “It’s incredibly difficult for personal, political reasons and I’m not going to go into all that’s subject to inquiry.

“Nobody can take away the contribution – massive contribution – that Alex Salmond made to the growth and the current strength of the SNP and the independence movement.

“Whatever has happened over the past couple of years and whatever happens in the future, the changed relationship between him and I, nobody can take away the massive influence he was on my life.

“But often in life things that you don’t anticipate and don’t relish and wouldn’t have ever wanted to happen happen and you have to deal with those and you have to live with them.

“The one thing I think I can safely say though, notwithstanding the contribution I hope I’ve made and will continue to make, is that both the SNP and the Scottish independence movement is much, much bigger than any individual or any two individuals – no matter how important one or both of them might have been.”

The Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee has offered Tuesday February 9 for Mr Salmond to give evidence – adding that no further dates would be available.

It was set up after the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against the former first minister to be “unlawful” resulting in a £512,250 payout to Mr Salmond.

Ms Sturgeon, under questioning from journalist Fintan O’Toole as part of the newspaper’s Winter Nights Festival, also commented on the possibility of Irish unification, Brexit and sexism in politics.

She described dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as the “most stressful” period of her life.