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by Jenni Davidson
15 September 2020
Scottish Government accused of leaking confidential Alex Salmond letter

Alex Salmond - Image credit: YouTube

Scottish Government accused of leaking confidential Alex Salmond letter

Alex Salmond has accused the Scottish Government of leaking the contents of a confidential letter to the press.

The complaint follows an article in the Daily Record claiming Salmond had blocked the release of documents to the inquiry into handling of harassment complaints against him.

In a letter to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, the former first minister’s lawyer, David McKie, said that the information in the article could only have come from the Scottish Government and that they were “seeking an investigation into the data breach”.

McKie wrote: “It is a misrepresentation of information contained in a letter marked ‘private and confidential’ and sent only to the Scottish Government.

“We have written to the government, seeking an investigation into the data breach, given its serious implications for the proper functioning of your Committee.”

McKie also disputed the claims made in the Daily Record story.

According to his lawyer, Salmond did not block the release of papers requested by the committee, but of other documents the Scottish Government was planning to release that could potentially be in contempt of court.

McKie said: “Some material which the government had indicated to us it intended to produce, as part of its submissions, in our view represented a clear breach of court orders and undertakings.

“It would consequently have constituted a clear contempt of court.”

He added: “The Daily Record article suggests that our client was objecting to papers the Committee had asked for. He was not.

“That correspondence with the government can be made available to the committee on a confidential basis if required.

“Our client’s position is clear: he seeks to facilitate the maximum lawful disclosure of documents whilst respecting and, if necessary, enforcing the orders of the court.

“In contrast the government appears prepared to risk contempt of court by offering documents the committee has not asked for while simultaneously refusing to provide the Committee with material it has asked for, and can lawfully provide, such as the external legal advice on the Judicial Review.

“Hopefully on both aspects common sense will prevail without the need for a return to the court.”

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