SNP 'at risk of splintering over Alex Salmond' says expert
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Nicola Sturgeon’s predecessor Alex Salmond is set to give evidence at an inquiry investigating the Scottish government’s bungled handling of sexual harassment allegations against him. The political row has caused deep divides within the SNP which threaten to derail the party’s push for Scottish Independence. Political commentator Chris Deerin has blasted the bitter row as “ironic” given the progress the SNP have made towards a second independence vote.
Mr Salmond is set to give evidence to the parliamentary inquiry later today, he has already accused his once-close ally, Ms Sturgeon of several breaches of the Scottish Government ministerial code and of lying to parliament over meetings between the pair in 2018 regarding harassment claims.
Mr Deerin told Channel 4 News: “We’ll expect him to talk about whether there has been a conspiracy against him,
“Through all of this, the SNP has dissolved into splinter groups.
“Which is ironic given that they are probably closer to independence then they have been at any point in their history.”
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Mr Salmond was due to give evidence in person yesterday but the former First Minister asked to delay his appearance after his already-published written evidence was belatedly redacted by parliament on Tuesday following an intervention by the Crown Office – the body responsible for prosecuting crime in Scotland.
The First Minister was grilled on the matter by MSPs in Holyrood yesterday with her political opponents claiming the Scottish Parliament itself is being damaged by the fallout from the fiasco.
It comes as Jim Sillars, a former SNP depute leader announced he would not be voting for the SNP at the current election over the scandal.
He said: “I for one, I’m a member of the party, I am not voting for them.
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“I believe that there’s a fair degree of political corruption now loose inside the higher echelons of the SNP.
“And my conscience doesn’t allow me to vote for people I find highly dubious.”
Mr Sillars has also lodged a formal complaint to the SNP Scottish Government over what he described as a “gross breach of her duty” over the ministerial code by Nicola Sturgeon.
In the complaint, Mr Sillars accused the Scottish First Minister of breaching her own code of conduct over a “sustained attack” on Alex Salmond during yesterday’s Coronavirus briefing.
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Mr Salmond was accused of sexual harassment and was subject to a Government investigation.
He was later awarded £500,000 by the Scottish High Court after the Government admitted they acted unlawfully when they were investigating those claims of sexual harassment.
During a heated First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon warned against signing up to “damaging and deluded conspiracy theories” regarding her involvement in the handling of allegations.
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