Tories threaten vote on ‘misleading Parliament’ if Murrell fails to appear

The Scottish Conservatives say they will trigger a vote on whether Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament if SNP chief executive Peter Murrell does not reappear at a Holyrood committee.

The Tories are demanding that Mr Murrell return to give evidence at the Scottish Parliament committee investigating the handling of harassment complaints made against former first minister Alex Salmond.

He last appeared at the committee in December but opposition parties have since raised questions about the evidence he gave.

On Tuesday, the Tories said they would submit a motion for party business that Ms Sturgeon misled the Parliament when she promised the SNP would “co-operate fully” with the inquiry.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “If the SNP chief executive won’t even show up, that promise has clearly been broken and she (Ms Sturgeon) has misled the Scottish Parliament.

“Nicola Sturgeon can change this. It’s her party. The chief executive works for her. She should demand he at least shows up.

“We know why he doesn’t want to appear. Peter Murrell is running scared of claims that he perjured himself.

“The SNP cannot dodge scrutiny forever.

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross

“Either the SNP chief executive faces the inquiry or the SNP leader apologises for misleading Parliament.”

Last week, the Crown Office confirmed they had handed over “material” to the committee following a request from its members.

MSPs on the committee were asked to consider whether there is a public interest in releasing the documents.

Both Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond are expected to give evidence to the committee in the coming weeks.

Mr Murrell, who is the First Minister’s husband, appeared in person before the committee in December and later wrote to the committee seeking to clarify aspects of the evidence he gave.