'Judge-led inquiry necessary' to find complete truth of Alex Salmond affair, say Scottish Conservatives

The Scottish Conservatives have called for a full judge-led public inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond.

Commenting after the publication of the Holyrood inquiry on Tuesday, Murdo Fraser said such a move was necessary to “uncover all the details”.

In March, an exclusive poll for The Scotsman by Savanta ComRes showed almost half of Scots backed the establishment of a judge-led inquiry into the scandal.

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The calls also come after barrister James Hamilton cleared Nicola Sturgeon of breaching the ministerial code in his independent report and after the Salmond inquiry concluded the First Minister did mislead the committee about the nature of a meeting held between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Murdo Fraser, has called for a judge-led inquiry into the Salmond affair
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Alex Salmond inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon 'misled the committee' as judicial review ...

The First Minister will face a vote of no confidence later today, brought forward by the Scottish Conservatives.

Mr Fraser, the Scottish Conservative member of the Salmond committee, said: “As James Hamilton said yesterday, it is ‘for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether they were in fact misled’.

“The committee verdict is in – Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament and the public.

“If she ploughs on regardless, as she did against the advice of lawyers in the doomed Alex Salmond judicial review case, the First Minister will leave the country scarred by the most bitter divisions.”

Mr Fraser said senior government officials should “consider their position” and that it was “time for someone to accept responsibility”.

He said: “It seems clear that Nicola Sturgeon will refuse to abide by the principle of democratic accountability for her government’s monumental mistakes.

“The committee report indicates that even if the First Minister won’t be held accountable, numerous senior government officials should consider their position.

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“It is time for someone to accept responsibility for letting women down, wasting more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money, and the abundance of false and misleading statements from senior government figures.

“At every turn, the committee was obstructed by the SNP’s attempts to shut down scrutiny and keep key evidence secret.

“We have managed to produce a strong report that uncovers a great deal of what went wrong. But to uncover all the details, a judge-led inquiry is now necessary.”

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