Nicola Sturgeon resignation 'crucial' for restoring trust says Ross
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Ms Sturgeon will appear today to face questions over the Scottish Government handling of Mr Salmond’s legal review in 2018. The First Minister will face questions on how her Government handled the harassment claims aimed at Mr Salmond, who was acquitted of all charges. Amid pressure from opposition parties, the Scottish Government last night published documents concerning the legal review in 2018.
The Scottish Tories had warned a no confidence vote would be held in Holyrood against Deputy First Minister John Swinney over the refusal to publish the documents prior to their release.
Released on Tuesday evening, the documents showed legal advice stating the Scottish Government was likely to lose the review.
An email showed a senior lawyer for the Scottish Government was concerned over the case in October 2018.
The counsel also urged the Scottish Government to admit defeat in the review on December 6.
The Scottish Government did not do so until January 2019 and paid £500,000 in legal fees to Mr Salmond.
The Government admitted its handling of the investigation had been unlawful, leading to Mr Salmond claiming a plot had been hatched to discredit him.
Although not calling for the First Minister to resign, Mr Salmond said his successor had broken the ministerial code by misleading Parliament.
He said during his inquiry session last week: “I believe the first minister has broken the ministerial code, it’s not the case that every minister who breaks the ministerial code resigns.
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“I’ve got no doubt Nicola has broken the ministerial code.
“It’s not for me to suggest what the consequences should be – it’s for the people judging that, including this committee.”
Ahead of her inquiry appearance, Ms Sturgeon has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Swinney also insisted the Government had taken the correct steps in relation to the judicial review.
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However, the former First Minister claimed Ms Sturgeon knew of sexual harassment claims made against him on March 29, 2018.
On April 2, 2018 Ms Sturgeon informed Holyrood of the complaints after claiming she had been informed of the allegations on that day.
Commenting on the matter, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross stated his party would put forward a no confidence vote against the First Minister due to the claims within the documents.
He said: “There is no longer any doubt that Nicola Sturgeon lied to the Scottish Parliament and broke the Ministerial Code on numerous counts.
“No first minister can be allowed to mislead the Scottish people and continue in office, especially when they have tried to cover up the truth and abused the power of their office in the process.
“The weight of the evidence is overwhelming. Nicola Sturgeon must resign.”
A statement from the First Minister said: “To call a vote of no confidence in the middle of a pandemic, before hearing a single word of the first minister’s evidence, is utterly irresponsible.
“It is for the public to decide who they want to govern Scotland and – while we continue to fight the COVID pandemic – with the election campaign starting in just 20 days, that is precisely what they will be able to do.”
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