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Alex Salmond won’t appear before Scottish Parliament inquiry into handling of harassment claims


Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond won’t be making a planned appearance before an inquiry into the handling of harassment allegations against him.

The ex-SNP leader had been due to give evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee on Tuesday.

But his lawyers have now said Mr Salmond won’t be appearing after a decision not to publish his written evidence.

In a letter to the committee, David McKie, of Levy & McRae, said: “It must be clear to you that our client cannot accept a position where his evidence submitted in good faith to your committee (and in greater part still publicly available) is not to be published and therefore form part of the evidence leading to conclusions in your report.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon enjoys a cup of tea with Alex Salmond while on the General Election campaign trail in Inverurie in the Gordon constituency.
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Nicola Sturgeon succeeded Mr Salmond as first minister in 2014

Mr McKie added that “asking a witness to accept the constraints of speaking only to evidence selected by you on the undisclosed advice and direction of unidentified others is not acceptable in any forum”.

And, confirming that Mr Salmond will no longer be appearing before the committee on Tuesday, his lawyer said: “Our client remains willing to give evidence to the committee at any point up to the final date for evidence (currently fixed for 16 February).

“However, he cannot take his oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth unless you properly address in writing the legitimate concerns set out in this and our numerous previous letters.”

Mr Salmond was acquitted of sexual assault charges in March last year.

The committee’s inquiry has since been held to consider the actions of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints about Mr Salmond.

Confirming Tuesday’s committee hearing will now not go ahead, a Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “Mr Salmond has not confirmed that he will attend the committee meeting on Tuesday and he has raised a number of issues for clarification.

“Tuesday’s evidence session will therefore not go ahead.

“Mr Salmond had been contacted to make it clear that he can speak freely in committee about all of his contact with Nicola Sturgeon and his views on her actions.

“He was given the opportunity to make a lengthy opening statement on Tuesday and would have had four hours to answer questions in public. He was also invited to send more written evidence for publication after the meeting.

“The committee has already published two lengthy submissions from Mr Salmond and many, many pages of records and documents from him that he has been invited to speak freely about in Parliament on Tuesday.

“All of this written and oral evidence could then be reflected in the committee’s report.

“The committee continues to communicate with Mr Salmond’s representatives.”

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Ms Sturgeon, who succeeded Mr Salmond as first minister in 2014, is due to appear before the committee next week.

“In addition to answering all and any questions, I perhaps will also get the opportunity to take head on some of the ridiculous suggestions that have been made about this whole situation; suggestions I know have caused many people a great deal of distress,” she said at a news conference on Monday.

Ms Sturgeon also pushed back at the suggestion her government might have misled Scotland’s Court of Session about when she first knew of allegations against Mr Salmond.

“No, that’s not the case, I refute that absolutely,” she added.

Peter Murrell, the SNP’s chief executive and Ms Sturgeon’s husband, reappeared before the committee on Monday to clarify information given during his first appearance in December.



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