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by Chris Marshall
11 February 2021
MSPs call for emergency meeting of Salmond committee following court ruling

MSPs call for emergency meeting of Salmond committee following court ruling

MSPs on the committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints want to hold an emergency meeting in order to compel Alex Salmond to appear before them.

Both Labour and the Conservatives said they were seeking an emergency meeting of the committee to be held on Friday.

The development comes after judge Lady Dorrian said a court order could be changed following a legal challenge by The Spectator, potentially allowing for the publication of further written submissions.

Salmond had been due to appear before the committee on Tuesday but cancelled when the committee voted narrowly against publishing further written evidence from him.

The inquiry was set up to examine the government’s botched investigation of harassment complaints against the former first minister, a process which was ruled “unlawful” and ended up costing the taxpayer over £500,000 in legal fees.

Scottish Conservative Murdo Fraser said: “We have been saying from the outset that our committee will not be able to do its job properly unless we are able to question Alex Salmond in person.

“While we await the full details of the revised order and what implications it will have, I am satisfied that we now have grounds to compel Salmond to attend.

“I would expect SNP members to agree that this must happen, as suggested yesterday by Nicola Sturgeon herself.”

Commenting on Lady Dorrian’s decision, Scottish Labour interim leader and committee member Jackie Baillie said: “This decision presents the committee with the opportunity to publish the evidence and question Mr Salmond – we must seize that opportunity with both hands.

“It is clear from today’s decision that the publication of the evidence is in the public interest and that it may be used by the committee.

“It is the duty of the committee to get to the bottom of this fiasco and understand why the Scottish Government’s procedures were so flawed and why the women involved were badly let down.

“I have called for an emergency meeting of the committee tomorrow and I hope that colleagues will allow publication of the evidence and invite Mr Salmond to attend in person.”

She added: “Failure to seize this opportunity would be most unfortunate for the credibility of the committee and its work.”

 

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