SALMOND GETS HIS SCALP
Civil service chief blamed for botched probe won’t keep job Senior SNP source: Eck plot claims nonsense and paranoia
The chief mandarin who bungled Alex Salmond’s sexual harassment probe will not survive in her post, senior SNP sources have claimed.
It’s believed Leslie Evans w il l not remain as Permanent Secretary because of costly errors made in dealing with sex assault allegations against the former First Minister.
Evans wa s in charge of the probe judged “unlawful” last week – with taxpayers now facing a £ 500,000 legal bill.
The chief civil servant who botched Alex Salmond’s sex assault investigation will not survive in her post, senior SNP sources have claimed.
Scottish Government Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans is likely to be the first casualty of Salmond’s war with the Scottish Government.
Evans was in charge of an internal investigation into the former first minister ruled “unlawful” by a judge last week.
The verdict will have no bearing on an ongoing police inquiry into Salmond’s conduct but Nicola Sturgeon has been left seriously embarrassed by the procedural blunders.
Evans’ sf ailing swill cost taxpayers £500,000 in legal fees and have compromised two women who made complaints mplaints against Salmond.
The Sunday Mail has spoken to a senior source within the SNP who said the £160,000-a- year-civil l servant should “carry the e can” for the “procedural al mess”, while dismissing as “nonsense and paranoia” ia” claims from Salmond of a plot against him.
When we asked the Scottish Governmentt to comment on speculation over Evans’s future, a spokesman sman refused to back her or address the issue.
The SNP source said: “It’s not t been an easy week for the party but we’ve come through worse in the past and emerged stronger for it.
“It’s a real pity the focus has turned to questioning Nicola’s leadership, when at the end of the day we wouldn’t have got to this point had Alex
not been the subject of two complaints complaints.
“The feeding frenzy by some in the media and political opponents risks missing that point by creating the fiction of a civil war.
“The notion of a plot designed to tarnish Alex’s name is the stuff of nonsense and paranoia.
“There have been honest mimistakes made, sure. Nobody dispdisputes that. And yes, there’s a strostrong argument that it should be LeslieL Evans as the person to carry the can for that. We’ll see how long she remains in post.
“But the idea of a conspiracy by the First Minister and an inner circle of close aides is just gossip founded on ignorance.
“The people at the centre of all of this have acted with the best intentions. They’ve cocked up, no doubt. But they’re not devious operators, gunning for Alex out of malice and they deserve the breathing space to sort out what is ultimately a procedural mess.”
Evans breached her own guidelines by appointing an investigating officer who’d had contact with the two women who made the allegations.
As a result , the Scottish Government conceded defeat in their legal fight with Salmond, who had been seeking a judicial review. The climbdown was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Government but also Evans personally.
After Salmond launched his legal challenge Evans said, in a statement she will now be trying to forget: “I note that the former first minister has indicated his intention to challenge the actions taken by the Scottish Government.
“His statement contains significant inaccuracies which will be addressed in those court proceedings. The Scottish
PROBE Salmond and, left, Evans
VICTORY Salmond last week and, below, with Sturgeon Pic Callum Moffat