Nicola Sturgeon: Douglas Ross discusses no confidence vote
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The SNP leader is under mounting pressure from opposition parties in Scotland in the wake of a Holyrood inquiry involving former First Minister Alex Salmond. Last Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon gave evidence for more than seven hours to the committee investigating the Scottish Government’s botched handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond.
The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was set up after Mr Salmond successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government’s investigation of him.
A Court of Session in Edinburgh described the government’s investigation as “unlawful” and “tainted by apparent bias”, Mr Salmond was awarded £512,000 in legal expenses.
In his evidence to the Holyrood inquiry last week, Mr Salmond accused Ms Sturgeon of breaking the ministerial code by allegedly misleading Parliament about when she first knew of the allegations against him.
In her evidence, Ms Sturgeon strongly denied claims she broke the ministerial code by lying to Parliament.
Ms Sturgeon insisted she followed the advice of the Government’s law officers and stood by her recollection of meetings with Mr Salmond and his former chief of staff.
A petition has since been set up by the Scottish Tories calling for Ms Sturgeon to resign.
In a post on Twitter this afternoon, the party wrote: “Trust in Nicola Sturgeon is plummeting as the public realise she has misled parliament and broken the ministerial code.
“We won’t let her get away with it. Sign up here to say #ResignSturgeon”.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has also called on opposition parties back motions of no confidence in both Ms Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
The Scottish Conservatives are planning to hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Swinney this week.
The SNP deputy has come under fire over delaying the publication of legal advice issued to the Scottish Government.
When the legal advice was finally made public last week, Mr Ross said it showed how the Scottish Government had “discounted” the opinion of lawyers as they continued to defend a legal challenge brought by Mr Salmond.
Mr Ross said: “The Sturgeon-Salmond scandal has riven the very heart of Scottish politics and undermined confidence in the ability of parliament to hold the government to account.”
Speaking at an online event stage by the think-tank Onward, he added: “The other parties need to show that they have the stomach stand up to this SNP Government like we do.
“To hold the First Minister to the same standards that she has held others to.”
Mr Ross added a vote of no confidence needs to take place to “give Parliament the opportunity to have its say on the First Minister’s conduct”.
SNP Depute leader Keith Brown accused the Tory leader of “playing political games”, adding that Scots want the government to focus on recovering from coronavirus.
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He said: “All Douglas Ross achieved with such blatantly transparent tactics was to highlight his own inexperience and lack of political nous.
“The Tories have always hated devolution and fought tooth and nail to stop our nation’s parliament being established.
“Now, they’re doing everything they can to try to erode confidence in our democracy brick by brick from the inside – no one will trust the Tories to protect Scotland’s Parliament.
“The coming election is a stark choice – and both votes [for the] SNP are needed to put our country’s future in Scotland’s hands and not Boris Johnson’s.”
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