Alex Salmond inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon's evidence 'turned into 'political theatre' by Conservatives, warns Patrick Harvie

The co-leader of the Scottish Green Party has accused the Conservatives of “opportunistic political theatre” after they called for a vote of no confidence in the First Minister before even hearing the evidence she gave to the inquiry into sexual harassment claims against Alex Salmond.

Patrick Harvie says those pre-empting the committee are showing contempt for its work.
Patrick Harvie says those pre-empting the committee are showing contempt for its work.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie also hit out at some members of the committee who had clearly been “nakedly party political and opportunistic” in their questioning of Ms Sturgeon.

Speaking on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme today, Mr Harvie indicated that the Greens’ previous support for a vote of no confidence in Deputy First Minister John Swinney - over his initial refusal to release legal advice - had waned after the documentation was made available.

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It comes the day after Nicola Sturgeon gave evidence to the committee into the botched investigation of sexual harassment claims against former First Minister Alex Salmond.

Conservatives have been calling for two votes of no confidence, one into Mr Swinney, and another into Ms Sturgeon.

However, Mr Harvie called on opposition parties to put aside political concerns and let the committee complete its work unhindered before taking action.

He said: “I think a lot of people will be utterly dismayed by the way that this has been turned into a piece of opportunistic political theatre.

"There are very serious issues involved in this, but we should be making sure the committee can do its work.”

He hinted that Mr Swinney releasing the legal advice had been enough to push the Greens away from supporting a vote of no confidence in the Deputy First Minister.

Mr Harvie said: “The bulk of what has been asked for has been provided.

“Those who are pre-empting the committee and deciding what the outcome should be before the evidence has been heard, that also shows contempt for the inquiry.

“It was completely untenable for John Swinney to withhold from the committee information that it needs to do its work, but it’s equally untenable for the Conservatives not to give the committee the time that it needs to do its work.

"They’ve launched a motion of no confidence, or threatened to, into the First Minister before they have heard her evidence.”Mr Harvie was also pushed on whether he would support a vote of no confidence on Ms Sturgeon.

He said: “I want to see the report it comes out with and also want to see the outcome of the independent investigation into the Ministerial code, because lets remember this committee is composed of politicians, and I think it’s pretty transparent that there are people involved in that process who are being nakedly party political and opportunistic about it.”

“The outcome of a report is not going to be a binary yes or no.

"We’re going to need to read what’s going to be a very detailed report into a very long enquiry that’s been allowed to go on for months longer than it should have done.

“This should have been finished by now, and I really do think it’s extraordinary that people are being allowed to turn what should be a very serious issue, into what went wrong with an investigation into sexual harassment allegations and how to make sure that doesn’t happen again, into a piece of political theatre.”

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