Sturgeon reports herself on Salmond
Salmond calls and meetings to be looked at
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