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Call for emergency harassment committee meeting in light of legal challenge

Holyrood

Call for emergency harassment committee meeting in light of legal challenge

An urgent meeting of the Holyrood committee investigating the handling of harassment complaints must be called in response to a planned legal challenge, committee member Jackie Baillie has said.

The Spectator is understood to be applying to the High Court to vary the contempt of court order currently in place which limits what information can be put into the public domain.

The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The committee voted five against four not to publish a written submission from Alex Salmond yesterday.

But several members including Baillie expressed dissatisfaction with this decision, as much of the material had already been published by some media outlets.

Baillie said the committee must be prepared to change its mind if the court allows The Spectator to publish the material.

She said: “In that eventuality, it makes no sense for the committee to tie its own hands behind its back by refusing to make use of the submission and have the chance to question Mr Salmond.

“The committee is dutybound to do all it can to get to the reasons why the Scottish Government’s procedures were so badly flawed and why the women involved were so badly failed – to do so, we must have all the evidence available and the chance to question Mr Salmond.”

Salmond has said he remains willing to give evidence to the committee next week provided his written submissions are published.

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