Great Britain

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 or here.

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

Keep up with latest news from the inquiry here.

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

    More to follow after the short respite.

  • 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."

  • 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.”

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