Nicola Sturgeon rejects David Davis comments on Alex Salmond harassment investigation
Nicola Sturgeon has "strongly refuted" comments made by David Davis in the House of Commons, dismissing them as the "latest installment of Alex Salmond's conspiracy theory".
The Conservative MP accused the First Minister's chief of staff of interfering in the Scottish Government’s investigation of harassment complaints against Salmond - months before Sturgeon said she first knew of the inquiry.
But when asked about the matter this afternoon, Sturgeon rejected the allegations and said she did not want the COVID-19 briefing "side-tracked" by the saga.
Last night, Davis used parliamentary privilege to make public evidence he said was handed to him by “an anonymous whistleblower”.
He said the information handed to him included a download of text messages from the telephone of Sue Ruddick, the chief operating officer of the SNP.
Davis told MPs the papers shared with him showed concerns being raised about Liz Lloyd by Judith Mackinnon, the civil servant appointed to investigate the complaints made about Salmond by two women.
He said: "I have it on good authority that there exists from 6 February 2018, an exchange of messages between civil servants Judith Mackinnon and [Scottish government's director of people] Barbara Allison suggesting the First Minister’s chief of staff is interfering in the complaints process against Alex Salmond.
"The investigating officer complained: ‘Liz interference, v bad'. I assume that means very bad.
“If true, this suggests that the chief of staff had knowledge of the Salmond case in February."
Davis added: “The First Minister also tied herself to that April date in both parliamentary and legal statements. She was, of course, aware earlier than that. The question is just how aware, and how much earlier.”
When it was brought up at the lunchtime briefing, Sturgeon said: "I refute, strongly refute, the suggestions and insinuations from David Davis in the House of Commons last night.
"I am not going to have this Covid briefing side-tracked by the latest installment of Alex Salmond's conspiracy theory and that's just how it is today.
"I have given eight hours of evidence to the parliamentary committee looking into this.
"They are now able to assess all of the evidence they've taken, including, I'm sure, the evidence they have in relation to the suggestions and claims made by David Davis last night. They have a job of work to do now.
"I'm going to allow them to do that job of work. And in the meantime, I'm going to get on with my job, which for the moment, is leading this COVID briefing, because I'm pretty sure most of the people watching right now want to hear about the COVID situation."