Alex Salmond inquiry: MSPs must overcome obstructions to get to the truth – Brian Wilson

As the Alex Salmond inquiry complains of ‘obstruction’, Brian Wilson says MSPs must stick to their task

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 12:30 pm
MSPs are looking into the Scottish Government's handling of complaints made about Alex Salmond (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
MSPs are looking into the Scottish Government's handling of complaints made about Alex Salmond (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

Exchanges at Holyrood produce few memorable lines but credit to Nicola Sturgeon for providing one for the footnotes of history.

Pressed by Ruth Davidson about obstruction faced by the committee inquiring into the Salmond case, Ms Sturgeon pleaded: “I do not think it is reasonable to be asked questions about what other people might or might not have done.”

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The “other people” referred to was actually just one other person – ie Peter Murrell, chief executive of the SNP and spouse to Ms Sturgeon. She was not being asked to comment on the words of passing strangers.

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There was a perfectly good reason for Ms Sturgeon to be asked to comment on – and condemn – words attributed to “other people” since she has responsibility for protecting the independent integrity of Police Scotland.

When the national force was formed, one of the fears was that it would become too exposed to political interference, which remains a valid concern.

In this case, the mighty Murrell is alleged to have messaged another senior SNP figure that it was “a good time to be pressurising” Police Scotland and “the more fronts he (Salmond) is having to firefight on, the better”.

Let us imagine it was the chief executive of another political party, and that Ms Sturgeon was not married to that individual. Would she be silent about what, prima facie, looks like a gross attempt at political interference in the work of the police?

Sturgeon, Murrell and their circle have had many months to organise their defences around this seedy affair. It is now up to MSPs to stick with the task, no matter how much “obstruction and frustration” they continue to encounter.

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