Key issues surrounding Peter Murrell’s committee appearance

PA Scotland

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell is expected to return to a Scottish Parliament committee on Monday to give evidence into the government’s handling of harassment complaints made against Alex Salmond.

This will mark Mr Murrell’s second appearance at the committee, after Conservatives raised concerns about the evidence he gave.

Two weeks ago, the Crown Office confirmed it had handed over “material” to the committee following a request from its members.

Sturgeon and Murrell
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with husband Peter Murrell (Andrew Milligan/PA)

MSPs on the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints were asked to consider whether there is a public interest in releasing the documents.

Who is Peter Murrell?

Mr Murrell has been chief executive of the SNP since 1999, when he took over the role from Michael Russell.

He had previously worked in the Banff and Buchan constituency office of the former first minister, Alex Salmond.

In July 2010, Mr Murrell married then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon and Salmond
Mr Murrell has been asked to clarify his comments about an alleged meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond (Andrew Milligan/PA)

What are the key points?

Mr Murrell had previously appeared in front of the committee in December.

During this appearance, convener Linda Fabiani had sought answers about a meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond at her Glasgow home on April 2 2018, where the First Minister was told by her predecessor of complaints of harassment made against him.

In his evidence, Mr Murrell initially said he did not know in advance about the meeting.

But later in the session, he contradicted himself by saying he was aware the previous day of Mr Salmond coming to the couple’s house – the first time he had visited since the 2017 general election campaign.

He also claimed in his written and oral evidence that he was not at home when the meeting took place, but again appeared to contradict himself by saying he arrived back “not long before the meeting ended”.

Peter Murrell
This marks Mr Murrell’s second appearance before the committee (Andy Buchanan/PA)

Why is he reappearing?

Concerns were raised over the contradictions Mr Murrell allegedly gave.

This led to the the Scottish Conservatives saying they would trigger a vote on whether Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament if he did not re-appear and clarify his comments.

What will happen next?

After Mr Murrell’s appearance on Monday, the former first minister Mr Salmond is expected to appear before the committee on Tuesday, followed by the current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

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