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SNP chief executive Peter Murrell to give evidence to harassment inquiry

Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon about to vote in the 2019 general election - Image credit: PA

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell to give evidence to harassment inquiry

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell will give evidence to the inquiry into the Scottish Government handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond on Tuesday morning.

Murrell – who is married to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – is expected to be questioned about meetings Sturgeon held with her predecessor, Alex Salmond, in the couple’s home and what he knew of the allegations against Salmond.

In his written submission, Murrell told the committee that he “had the sense that something serious was being discussed” but that “Nicola told me she couldn't discuss the details”.

He also said he had “no direct knowledge of and therefore no comment to make” about the Scottish Government's complaints handling policy or the judicial review.

Murrell is also likely to be asked about text messages he sent regarding the police investigation of Salmond.

The messages were sent after the former first minister was charged with sexual assault – a charge that he was later acquitted of.

One message said that “folk should be asking the police questions” and that it was a “good time to be pressurising them”, while another said: “The more fronts he is having to firefight on the better for all complainers”.

In a second submission to the committee in October, Murrell admitted that he “did not express myself well”, but insisted that the messages had been “presented in a way that suggests a meaning that they do not in reality have”.

Police launched an investigation in September into how the text messages came to be leaked after SNP MP Kenny MacAskill claimed he was sent details of them in an anonymous letter.

Asked about them at First Minister’s Questions in October, the First Minister said the inquiry should “call the people who the messages are purported to come from and ask them the questions”.

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