Alex Salmond inquiry LIVE: Ex-FM says ScotGov probe into him was 'abject disaster' & claims Scotland ‘failed’ by leaders

ALEX Salmond has described the Scottish Government’s investigation into him as an “abject, total, complete disaster”.

The former First Minister is currently giving evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee probing the government's botched investigation into harassment claims about him in 2018.

Mr Salmond – who successfully challenged the ScotGov probe at the Court of Session – also claimed Scotland had been "failed" by its leaders, suggesting they are not fit to deliver independence.

Earlier, he claimed there has been “calculated and deliberate suppression of key evidence” to a Scottish Parliamentary committee.

The former SNP chief is laying out his evidence in person and attempting to persuade the committee – and the nation – that there was a plot against him.

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to give evidence at the Holyrood inquiry next Wednesday in the final evidence session of the inquiry before it finishes its report.

The inquiry started at 12:30pm this afternoon from Holyrood – you can watch it live in the video above orhere.

All of the background details you need to know can be found here.

Keep up with latest news from the inquiry here.

  • Ewan Mowat

    ALEX Salmond has insisted the name of a complainer WAS shared with his former chief of staff – despite denials by Nicola Sturgeon

  • Ewan Mowat

    THE inquiry has been suspended for a 20-minute break after the first session was concluded.

    More to follow after the short respite.

  • Ewan Mowat

    ALEX Salmond has insisted the name of a complainer WAS shared with his former chief of staff when the complaints process was still ongoing, despite denials yesterday by Nicola Sturgeon.

    Asked by Scottish Labour acting leader Jackie Baillie if it was true a woman's identity had been revealed, he said: "Yes."

    This is alleged to have happened in meetings held prior to Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon's summit on April 2, 2018, at her home.

    Ms Baillie said: "Can I ask you how you know that, because obviously we're interested in evidence being corroborated at this committee?"

    Mr Salmond answered: "Because my former chief of staff told me that."

    The Labour MSP followed up: "Is anybody else party to that information?"

    He replied: "As far as I'm aware – and you'd have to ask the people concerned – as far as I'm aware there are three other people who know that to be true."

    Ms Baillie said the committee has written to the people involved.

    At First Minister's Questions yesterday, Ms Sturgeon dismissed Ms Baillie's claim the name of a complainer was revealed.

    The First Minister said: "Alex Salmond claims the name of a complainant was given. That is not the same thing as accepting that is the case."

    Pressed by Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie if she was "categorically" denying it, Ms Sturgeon answered: "To the very best of my knowledge, I do not think that happened."

  • Ewan Mowat

    ALEX Salmond described the Scottish Government’s investigation into him – which he successfully challenged at the Court of Session – as an “abject, total, complete disaster”.

    In January 2019, the Court of Session ruled the government’s probe into complaints about Mr Salmond was “unlawful” and “unfair” in that it was “tainted by apparent bias” after an investigating officer was appointed who’d had previous contact with the complainants.

    It led to over £500,000 of taxpayers’ money being used to cover Mr Salmond’s legal expenses.

    Mr Salmond told the committee: “When I took out the petition for judicial review it was on, I can’t remember, seven or eight grounds.

    “My legal advice – and legal advice is just that, it’s only advice – is that we had a very, very high likelihood of success before we knew about anything to do with the application of the policy which was initially concealed from us and then which we learned about as the judicial review went on.

    “I wouldn’t have taken out a judicial review without the advice saying the policy was unlawful.

    “And I think there was a great deal of understanding in terms of the Scottish Government of the jeopardy that their policy was in.

    “There were many, many things wrong with the policy. Why were there many things wrong with the policy? Because it was developed at pace as the civil service says, spatchcock as I would say, over a period of six weeks in an apparent panic for reasons which hopefully this committee can try and determine.

    “However you look at it , from nobody’s point of view was it a satisfactory outcome.

    “It was an abject, total, complete disaster.”

  • Ewan Mowat

    ALEX Salmond has said he did not threaten to resign from the SNP when he discussed historic claims made against him with Nicola Sturgeon in November 2017.

    Under questioning from Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton about an alleged incident at Edinburgh Airport in 2009, Mr Salmond said: "No, I didn't threaten resignation – there was nothing to threaten resignation about."

    Ms Sturgeon has claimed that at a meeting she held later with Mr Salmond which discussed the government's harassment probe against him, she had feared he might resign from the SNP.

    The First Minister insists she thought that meeting was party business, not government business, which is why it wasn't minuted, nor civil servants informed.

    But Mr Salmond also defended his predecessor from any suggestion she covered up his behaviour or anyone else's when she was his deputy FM – in which role she dealt with workplace complaints against ministers.

    He told the committee: "I've got points to make about what I believe the current First Minister has done or not done and they'll be made in response to relevant questions to the committee.

    "But I've seen it pursued on the committee that somehow Nicola Sturgeon was covering up – that's not not the case. My charges against Nicola Sturgeon don't include that."

    The ex-FM said that to his knowledge, during his time in charge, no complaints against any ministers came across his then-deputy Ms Sturgeon's desk.

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