SNP faces ‘major tension

SNP faces ‘major internal political tension’ says John Curtice

The Scottish Harassment committee is looking into whether Nicola Sturgeon misled the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest court, over when she first heard of Alex Salmond’s sexual harassment allegations. In doing so, she would have also misled the Scottish Parliament over the dates, a move which would break ministerial code. Professor John Curtice says the SNP is split between support for Ms Sturgeon, who believes she is telling the truth, or Mr Salmond, who they believe is being hard done by.  

Speaking on talkRADIO, Julia Hartley-Brewer discussed the inquiries with the politics lecturer and what it all means. 

After an explanation from Professor Curtice, Ms Hartley-Brewer said: “This is all the nitty-gritty, but fundamentally this is a battle between the current first minister and the former first minister?”

Professor Curtice added: “Oh absolutely, Alex Salmond has alleged at the criminal trial, in which he was acquitted, that Ms Sturgeon was party to a conspiracy to bring him down as a politician. 

“That’s the central charge, and it is perfectly clear Nicola Sturgeon has acknowledged this as the relationship between the two has broken down. 


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“And of course what is also true is some members of the SNP, not least Joanna Cherry who was sacked as the party’s home affairs spokesperson in the House of Commons last week, some members are siding with Alex Salmond on this issue and feel he has been hard done by.

“Others are siding with Nicola Sturgeon and as a result, we do have this major internal political tension.”

The dates in which Nicola Sturgeon first learnt about Alex Salmond’s sexual harassment allegations are being contested.

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Ms Sturgeon said she heard about the allegations on April 2, 2018 at a meeting with Mr Salmond at her home but it is claimed she had met with his former chief of staff, Geoff Aberdein, on March 29 where it also claimed she first heard the news. 

New inquiries have been launched to find out what was said at the meetings and the government’s failures which led to a £500,000 payout to Alex Salmond.

They were set to be held in December but were delayed. 

Mr Salmond recently announced he would not attend the inquiries held this Tuesday over disputes on what can be published from the meeting. 

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Neither the April nor March meetings were on record with opposition MSPs up in arms over the lack of transparency. 

Ms Sturgeon says both meetings were of party business, not the government, so did not require minutes to be taken. 

When giving evidence, Ms Sturgeon said she had forgotten about the March meeting and added the matter may have related to “allegations of a sexual nature.”

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