Committee gives Scottish Government deadline to hand over legal advice
The committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond has given John Swinney a deadline to hand over the legal advice it received prior to Salmond’s judicial review.
Committee convener Linda Fabiani wrote to Swinney after MSPs backed a motion in the Scottish Parliament demanding the legal advice be published.
Fabiani asked Swinney to provide the legal advice “without further delay” by Friday 13 November.
The committee is investigating what went wrong with the complaints handling process in the lead up to the judicial review, which resulted in the process being deemed unlawful and the Scottish Government having to pay Salmond over £500,000 in legal expenses.
It has previously asked the Scottish Government to hand over the legal advice it received from government lawyers in the lead up to the judicial review.
But Swinney has repeatedly said that the advice should remain confidential, as is common practice with government legal advice.
Following the parliamentary vote, he told MSPs that the Scottish Government will “consider the implications of the motion” and update parliament.
Fabiani said that she assumes the outcome of those deliberations will “soon be forthcoming”.
She said it is important to see the legal advice before the Lord Advocate James Wolffe appears before the committee to give evidence on 17 November.
She added: “The committee requests that the Scottish Government provides the legal advice without further delay and by Friday 13 November at the latest to allow members sufficient opportunity to consider it prior to the Permanent Secretary and Lord Advocate appearing before us.”