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by Jack Thomson
22 March 2021
Presiding Officer: Salmond inquiry process shows 'powerful parliament in action'

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh (Scottish Parliament TV)

Presiding Officer: Salmond inquiry process shows 'powerful parliament in action'

The MSPs on the harassment committee have managed to "shine a spotlight" on the inner workings of Nicola Sturgeon's administration, the Presiding Officer has said. 

Ken Macintosh believes the Holyrood inquiry, which is due to publish its findings tomorrow morning, has been an example of a "powerful parliament in action" in its consideration of the Scottish Government's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond. 

He said members of the committee had been through "a very difficult process" but highlighted an eight-hour marathon evidence session with the First Minister in its achievements, saying it has not been done elsewhere. 

Referring to the evidence session, he told the Press Association: "No other leading politician around the world has ever done that, but our parliament did it."

In January 2019, the Scottish Government conceded its investigation of complaints against former first minister Salmond had been unlawful. It was forced to pay Salmond more than £500,000 in legal costs. 

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints has been tasked with finding out what went wrong in the handling of the complaints. 

The Presiding Officer added: "I believe it has been assiduous in its work and has shone a light, shone a spot light on the inner workings of government that we have never seen, certainly not in my time in parliament.

"We have seen the inner workings of government, the relationship between ministers and the civil service and their Spads, special advisers, with the Parliament, with the Crown Office, with courts. We have seen absolutely what that is like.

"It is a difficult process, there is no doubt about it, there is so much at stake with the election coming up, the protagonists themselves are of some stature, so there is a lot at stake. There is a lot of physical tension here."

He continued: "I can’t think of any other parliament in the world, let alone in this country, that has spent eight with the First Minister.

"No prime minister has ever done that, I don’t think president in the States, no other leading politician around the world has ever done that, but our parliament did it.

"If you are to look at the process and the way the parliament has carried it out I think you see a powerful parliament in action."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Scottish Labour reveals £75 voucher plans to help high streets and tourism

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