Stur­geon re­ports her­self on Sal­mond

Sal­mond calls and meet­ings to be looked at

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID CLEGG

FIRST Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon has or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her own con­duct over the Alex Sal­mond sex­ual ha­rass­ment in­quiry.

NI­COLA Stur­geon yes­ter­day caved in to pres­sure and or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her own con­duct over the Alex Sal­mond sex­ual ha­rass­ment in­quiry.

The First Min­is­ter agreed to re­fer her­self to in­de­pen­dent ad­vis­ers on the Min­is­te­rial Code amid con­tro­versy over a se­ries of meet­ings she held with her for­mer men­tor while the botched probe was be­ing car­ried out.

Stur­geon met Sal­mond face to face three times and spoke to him twice on the phone af­ter for­mal com­plaints of sex­ual ha­rass­ment were made against him by two women in Jan­uary last year.

But it took two months be­fore she re­vealed the first meet­ing and phone call to Les­lie Evans, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s top civil ser­vant, and only did so be­cause she was about to meet Sal­mond for a sec­ond time.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the al­le­ga­tions – which Sal­mond staunchly de­nies – was ruled un­law­ful by Scot­land’s high­est civil court last week.

Stur­geon said: “I have acted ap­pro­pri­ately and in good faith through­out and in com­pli­ance with the Min­is­te­rial Code at all times. How­ever, I have re­flected

and un­der­stand it is also im­por­tant for Par­lia­ment and the wider pub­lic to be as­sured of that.

“I have there­fore de­cided to re­fer the mat­ter for con­sid­er­a­tion by one or both of the in­de­pen­dent ad­vis­ers on the Min­is­te­rial Code.”

Stur­geon’s con­duct will be in­ves­ti­gated by for­mer lord ad­vo­cate Dame Elish An­gi­olini and James Hamil­ton, Ire­land’s for­mer di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions.

Scot­tish Labour leader Richard Leonard said Stur­geon had “done the right thing”.

He added: “Trans­parency is es­sen­tial for the pub­lic to have con­fi­dence in the First Min­is­ter and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.”

Jack­son Car­law, act­ing leader of the Scots Tories, said: “The First Min­is­ter says Par­lia­ment de­serves as­sur­ances about the way she and her ad­min­is­tra­tion han­dled this mat­ter. The best way isn’t to kick the mat­ter into the long grass, it’s to agree to an in­quiry by par­lia­ment.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s case col­lapsed last week af­ter Evans ad­mit­ted a civil ser­vant who in­ves­ti­gated the com­plaints had prior con­tact with the com­plain­ers.

CON­DUCT Ni­cola Stur­geon

QUIZ Stur­geon will have to ex­plain her ac­tions. Pic: Ken Jack/ Getty Images

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