Alex Salmond inquiry: Convener 'dismayed' at 'selective leaking' of inquiry findings

The convener of the Holyrood committee investigating the botched handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond has said she is “dismayed” at “selective leaking” from members after it emerged the inquiry has concluded Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament.

It is understood the committee agreed the First Minister misled the body around the details of a meeting between her and her predecessor in her house on April 2, 2018.

The central allegation is Ms Sturgeon promised to intervene in the probe into complaints against Mr Salmond – an allegation corroborated by his lawyer Duncan Hamilton.

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The First Minister has repeatedly denied she gave such assurances, but the inquiry believes she misled them and that it was “potentially” a breach of the ministerial code.

Linda Fabiani has criticised the way Salmond Inquiry conclusions were leaked to the media.
Linda Fabiani has criticised the way Salmond Inquiry conclusions were leaked to the media.

Any minister found to have “knowingly misled” Parliament is expected to offer their resignation.

Reacting to the leak, committee convener Linda Fabiani said she was “dismayed” and claimed the leaks had strayed “onto party political terrain” that could “seriously undermine and devalue” the committee’s work.

The SNP MSP said: “Over the past 24 hours, accounts of the conclusions of the draft report of the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on the Scottish Government’s Handling of Harassment Complaints have been leaked to the media.

"I am dismayed by the damage this may do to the value of the committee’s work, which I have long hoped would improve the treatment of the complainers of sexual harassment.

“The selective leaking of particular committee recommendations has shifted the focus away from these goals and the recommendations which seek to achieve it, and onto party political terrain, which will likely frustrate, not assist, the women at the heart of this.

“The MSP’s Code of Conduct requires that all drafts of committee reports should be kept confidential unless the committee decides otherwise and it requires that members must not provide the media with off-the-record briefings on the general contents or line of draft committee reports because such disclosures of this kind can also seriously undermine and devalue the work of committees.”

The Scotsman understands some members of the committee are “furious” about the leak, which has led to calls for Ms Sturgeon’s resignation.

The publication of the committee report is set for 8am on Tuesday.

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