A piece published by the Telegraph online less than two hours ago. The Sturgeon will never do the honourable thing and resign before she’s pushed:
Nicola Sturgeon is facing a fight for her political career on Thursday after MSPs concluded that she had misled a Holyrood inquiry investigating her handling of the Alex Salmond affair.
A cross-party committee examining how the Scottish Government dealt with harassment complaints against the former First Minister is to find that Ms Sturgeon had given “an inaccurate account” of a crucial meeting with Mr Salmond in April 2018.
In an eight-hour evidence session earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon repeatedly insisted that she did not offer to intervene in the probe facing her former mentor, although her account has been contradicted by Mr Salmond and his lawyer.
While it is believed that the four SNP MSPs on the committee voted to back Ms Sturgeon’s account, the four Tory, Labour and LibDem members believed Mr Salmond. The deadlock was broken by Andy Wightman, a former Green who now sits as an independent.
The finding that she misled parliament were likely to see calls for Ms Sturgeon’s resignation intensify.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: “The First Minister told the truth to the committee in eight hours of evidence, and stands by that evidence.
“It is clear from past public statements that opposition members of this committee had prejudged the First Minister at the outset of the inquiry and before hearing a word of her evidence, so this partisan and selective briefing – before the committee has actually published its final report – is hardly surprising.
“The question of the First Minister’s adherence to the ministerial code is being considered independently by James Hamilton and we expect to receive and publish his report soon.”
The SNP is likely to seek to present the committee’s findings as a partisan attempt to claim Ms Sturgeon’s scalp, less than two months out from the crucial Holyrood election.
However, an independent report into whether Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code being led by James Hamilton, a former director of public prosecutions in Ireland, is set to be published within days.
If that probe reaches a similar verdict, Scottish Unionist politicians believe the First Minister’s position could well become untenable.
The Hamilton probe is also set to examine claims that Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by failing to properly record meetings with Mr Salmond in her government diaries and failing to follow legal advice.
The Holyrood inquiry is set to publish its report on Tuesday. It is set to conclude that her evidence surrounding her claims of non-intervention in Scottish Government’s investigation into Mr Salmond was “an inaccurate account of what happened and she has misled the committee on this matter”.
The finding revolved around a crucial summit held between Ms Sturgeon and her former mentor on April 2, 2018, in her Glasgow home.
Mr Salmond had urged Ms Sturgeon to intervene to secure mediation, and later an arbitration process, to resolve the complaints and issues around the legality of a new Scottish Government policy for handling formal accusations against former ministers.
She said on oath that she did not offer to intervene, although conceded she may have given Mr Salmond the impression that she would help him as she wanted to “let a long-standing friend and colleague down gently.”
However, Duncan Hamilton, a former SNP MSP and Mr Salmond’s lawyer, gave a statement in which he stated he had been in the room during that part of discussions.
He said: “We discussed mediation. My clear recollection is that her [Ms Sturgeon’s] words were ‘If it comes to it, I will intervene’.”
Ms Sturgeon also faces major questions over when she first became aware that Mr Salmond was facing an investigation.
She claims she first became aware of it at the April 2018 meeting, although Mr Salmond says she knew about it earlier. She has claimed to have forgotten about a meeting days earlier in March 2018, with Mr Salmond’s former chief of staff, where the specifics of the allegations were allegedly discussed.
The Scottish ministerial code states: “Ministers who knowingly mislead the Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation.”
A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “Further to media reports on the Committee’s findings, the Committee is still finalising its report. There will be no further comment on the report ahead of its publication.”
Our last general election manifesto is here.
If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.