Nicola Sturgeon has been accused by Alex Salmond of submitting false evidence to a parliamentary inquiry that he has described as “simply untrue”. Ms Sturgeon’s spokesperson has said that the first minister “entirely rejects” the claims and has accused Mr Salmond of “spinning false conspiracy theories”.
Mr Salmond claims are centred around an accusation that she attended a meeting at which an official investigation into harassment claims against him were discussed, four days before she told parliament that she became aware of the allegations. Mr Salmond’s claims are contained in a written submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish government’s handling of the harassment claims against him.
In addition to this, UNN’s Oliver Down understands that an independent panel is now investigating whether or not Ms Sturgeon has breached the ministerial code. If that is found to be the case, Ms Surgeon’s political future could be in jeopardy.
The issues that Ms Sturgeon need to clarify centre around when she found out the Scottish government was investigating harassment claims against Mr Salmond and whether the account, she gave to the Scottish Parliament is correct. In her written submission to the ongoing harassment inquiry, Ms Sturgeon says she had “forgotten” the now infamous 29th of March meeting took place. She says: “From what I recall, the discussion covered the fact that Alex Salmond wanted to see me urgently about a serious matter, and I think it did cover the suggestion that the matter might relate to allegations of a sexual nature”.
Mr Salmond’s written evidence contradicts Ms Sturgeon’s version of events. He has written: “The pre-arranged meeting in the Scottish parliament of March 29, 2018 was ‘forgotten’ about because acknowledging it would have rendered ridiculous the claim made by the first minister in parliament that it had been believed that the meeting on April 2 was on SNP party business and thus held at her private residence”.
As per the ministerial code, ministers are responsible for recording meetings on government business. A minister knowingly misleading parliament “will be expected to offer their resignation”. It is understood that no records of the content of three meetings and two phone calls between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond were kept. UNN’s Oliver Down will bring you more on this story as we get it.