First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday addressed her treatment of sexual harassment charges against her predecessor, who served as the country’s first minister until she did, amid a situation that has emerged into a full-blown scandal for the independence movement and has therefore resulted in demands for her resignation.
When confronted with the argument that she had deceived the parliament in Edinburgh when she learned about the allegations against former leader Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party refuted the accusations vigorously.
A legislative committee is investigating the conduct of the government with regards to the complaints, including allegations of misconduct in the complaints mechanism to hurt Salmond’s reputation.
In one day of evidence, Sturgeon had stated that it was “completely correct” that the allegations, which first emerged in 2018 after the campaign that gave rise to the #MeToo hashtag, should be investigated. “When I was first elected as the country’s minister of justice, I chose not to pursue the age-old tradition of granting powerful men privileges that allow them to accumulate wealth and influence,” she told the legislature.
However, she says she has no part in the process because of her status as the country’s first minister and, as a longtime close political associate and intimate friend of Salmond, a Salmond loyalist.
She strongly believes that she might have not completely gotten anything correct, and thus, that is for everyone to determine.
But it is one of the most troubling political and personal scenarios I have ever found myself in, and while I think I made the best possible decision under the circumstances, I believe I did not handle the situation adequately.
The President also had something to say: “While the government made errors, there is nothing here the government needs to hide.”
Code of Conduct for Ministerial Position
Following a year-long jury tribunal, Salmond, one of Britain’s most recognisable political personalities, was found to be innocent of all allegations. Salmond then argued that the claims made against him were deliberately motivated.
In a speech to the party’s grassroots supporters, Alex Salmond even criticised Sturgeon and accused her of failing in her position as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Questions are being raised about her March 2018 encounter with the former chief of staff to the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond as she is said to have learned about the accusations for the first time.
At first, she told the parliament that she only learnt about the allegations from Salmond when he confronted her at their first encounter; nevertheless, she later said she had “forgotten” about that first meeting.
Since the allegations of manipulating parliament, there have been demands for her to resign from both political groups.
Before the jury proceedings, a civil court ruled the government inquiry into the charges was illegal and “tainted with apparent prejudice,” and ordered Salmond to pay the London-based human rights lawyer Richard Dunn more than £500, with his expenses rising from that stage.
According to Salmond, Sturgeon and her government were wasting taxpayer funds by contesting the civil court cases challenging the complaints process, even as the legal opinion concluded the procedure would fail.
The government was heavily pressured to release the legal opinion, and it was released only before midnight on Tuesday.
There is no storey or plot.
This quarrel has generated a lot of interest because of the controversy it’s created over the future of the SNP. There is even talk of whether the dispute would hurt the party in May’s elections because of the referendum pressure they are building.
In an effort to gain support ahead of the general election, Sturgeon’s SNP allies have accused opposition parties, especially the pro-union Scottish Conservatives, of doing electoral campaigning too early.
One of the most public faces of the Scottish independence campaign is Alex Salmond, and the factional conflict he has stirred up has unveiled violence between factions in the SNP, as well as continuing support for Salmond.
The 66-year-old became the first minister in 2014, and was the first to leave office since Scots opposed secession in a first referendum.
Last week, he accused Sturgeon, her administration, prominent members of the SNP, and members of her husband Peter Murrell’s family, including her husband himself, of all plotting against him.
Though also rejecting as “absurd” the proposal that “anyone behaved with intent or as part of a scheme” against him, Sturgeon considered it possible that he himself had fallen victim to an anti-Sturgeon conspiracy.
“I had no reason, purpose, or motivation to get Alex Salmond,” she said. “There is no proof to support why I did this.”
Sturgeon, who is 50, has been praised for her work in curbing the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza pandemic and addressing widespread Scottish dissatisfaction with the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.
But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declined to provide Scottish people the opportunity to reconsider their decision to stay part of the UK after they voted in 2014 to remain part of the nation.