Nicola Sturgeon gets asked about Alex Salmond’s allegations
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was left fuming as she was forced to answer questions on Alex Salmond during her coronavirus briefing on Wednesday. Peter Smith from ITV demanded an answer on whether the “serious allegations” from the former First Minister was “undermining trust” in the Scottish Government’s coronavirus message. Mr Salmond was due to appear before a Holyrood committee today investigating the SNP-led Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints made against him.
Mr Smith told the Scottish First Minister: “Everday you are coming here and ask the Scottish people to have faith in your message and to trust you.
“We now hear some very serious allegations from a former First Minister; this is not somebody from the sidelines, a former First Minister who knows the democratic institutions of Scotland.
“And he is alleging corruption that is undermining the trust we can have in you and in these institutions.”
He also pressed Ms Sturgeon on the allegations from Mr Salmond that the Crown Office had withheld evidence during a court battle which saw the former SNP leader acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault last March.
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Ms Sturgeon snapped: “I will answer this question or be it this is a Covid briefing and then I am going to move back to Covid.
“The decision about what the Scottish Parliament publishes and however it publishes whatever it publishes in compliance with the law are matters for the parliament, the corporate body, I am not party to these discussions.
“I the decisions the Crown Office takes in relation to enforcing or upholding the law, and this relates specifically to your question, are taken independently by the Crown Office independently from Government,
“Any suggestions, any suggestion at all that these decisions are in any way politically influenced are downright wrong.”
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Ms Sturgeon then went on to describe suggestions the Crown Office had come under political pressure as a “dangerous conspiracy theory.”
She said: “I would go further than that they actually start to buy into what is a false and quite dangerous conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact,
“You refer to allegations made by Alex Salmond, I don’t think there is a shred of evidence behind those allegations and the claims that have been made.
“Alex Salmond has had the opportunity, he had the opportunity today, to be in front of the committee and to try to substantiate those allegations, now he has declined that opportunity today.
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“I don’t think with any good reason,” she added.
“I hope he comes to the committee in early course so that he can say what he wants, put forward any claims that he wants, and crucially bring forward the evidence.”
Mr Salmond accuses Ms Sturgeon’s allies of trying to “banish him” from public life and also took the Scottish Government to court over its handling of the complaints, winning a judicial review.
Two inquiries were then undertaken, looking into the handling of complaints by both the SNP Government and Ms Sturgeon herself.
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