Nicola Sturgeon didn’t break ministerial code says report – but SNP leader urged to resign

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP facing ‘biggest row’ in Scottish politics

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The Scottish Government received the report from James Hamilton QC, its independent adviser on the ministerial code, on Monday morning. Ms Sturgeon referred herself after being accused of misleading Parliament over when she knew of the complaints against Mr Salmond.

 

She previously said she had been told about the allegations by Mr Salmond himself during a meeting in her home on April 2, 2018.

However, it was later found that Mr Salmond’s former chief of staff Geoff Aberdein had met with the First Minister in her Holyrood office four days prior to that, where she was told of the complaints.

It comes after the Holyrood Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints is investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints brought by the former Scottish First Minister.

A successful judicial review by former first minister Mr Salmond resulted in the Scottish Government’s investigation of harassment allegations against him being ruled unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”, with a £512,250 payout being awarded to him for legal fees in 2019.

 

The report, published this afternoon revealed no breach had been committed by the First Minister. 

Mr Hamilton was originally asked to investigate allegations that Ms Sturgeon “failed to feed back the basic facts of meetings and discussions held with Alex Salmond to her private office as required by sections 4.22 and 4.23 of the Code”.

Ms Sturgeon, who denies breaching the code, has previously promised the report would be published on the day the Government received it.

But the Scottish Conservatives called for the Scottish First Minister to step down over the affair and are expected to bring forward a vote of No Confidence in the FM on Wednesday.

Ms Sturgeon said today: “I welcome the conclusions of James Hamilton’s independent investigation, which are comprehensive, evidence-based and unequivocal.

“I sought at every stage in this issue to act with integrity and in the public interest.  

“As I have previously made clear, I did not consider that I had broken the code, but these findings are official, definitive and independent adjudication of that.

Today I want, once again, to remind people that at the heart of this case were women who had the courage to come forward and complain.

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“That they were let down by the Scottish Government’s handling of their complaints is not in dispute, and I again apologise to them for that.”

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