MSPs establish new committee for Alex Salmond inquiry
The Scottish Parliament business bureau has established a new committee to examine how the Scottish Government handled complaints made against former First Minister Alex Salmond.
The Committee, made up of nine MSPs and chaired by the SNP, was set up after the Court of Session ruled the Scottish Government’s handling of the allegations against the former SNP leader had been unlawful.
The Scottish Government was forced to concede it had made procedural errors when investigating the complaints and Salmond was awarded costs running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The new committee will examine the Scottish Government approach to the investigation, and is separate from the 14 criminal charges brought against Salmond last week.
Salmond has been charged with 14 offences – one of breach of the peace, two of indecent assault, nine of sexual assault and two of attempted rape.
Appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff court he said that he was “innocent of any criminality” and he would “defend himself to the utmost in court”.
The remit and make-up of the Scottish Parliament inquiry will be finalised at later bureau meetings.
A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “Bureau members unanimously agreed to the establishment of a nine person committee, convened by a member of the SNP with the Deputy Convener coming from the Conservative Party. The Bureau will finalise issues around remit and membership at its next meeting.”
But while Scottish Labour supported the move, its Business Manager Neil Findlay questioned the decision to allow an SNP MSP to chair the committee.
He said: "Labour argued against the SNP chairing this committee during the meeting, but did not want to block establishing the committee.
"It is now a matter for the SNP to decide if it thinks chairing the committee is appropriate - ultimately the election of a convener is a matter for the committee so the option is still open for an MSP from an opposition party to chair the committee."
An SNP spokesperson said: “This is a matter for the Parliamentary Bureau, in which all Holyrood parties are represented.”