Nicola Sturgeon’s independence dreams dashed as expert warns Salmond row is ‘damaging SNP’

Nicola Sturgeon's 'days are numbered' says Ann Widdecombe

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Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP is currently embroiled in a row concerning the current inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints made against former first minister Alex Salmond. The inquiry, which remains ongoing, has already led to infighting within the party and former Tory Cabinet Office minister Norman Tebbit has claimed the spat is furthering the unionist cause in Scotland.

When discussing the positive news that has emerged in recent weeks, the life peer noted the current Holyrood inquiry.

Writing in a column for the Daily Telegraph, titled ‘The SNP’s implosion is just the good news Unionists needed’, Lord Tebbit claimed the SNP’s preoccupation with Mr Salmond’s explosive claims is also damaging the party’s desire to split from the UK.

He said: “The cat and dog fight between Salmond and Sturgeon has given those of us who believe in the UK a chance to make our arguments heard.”

The Tory peer continued: “There was also good news for those of us who value the partnership of Scotland and England within the United Kingdom, as we enjoyed the brutal name-calling struggle (the sort which we used to call a cat and dog fight) between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

“I would not want to have to choose between those two, ‘the fishy couple’ as I hope I am still allowed to call them, but their conduct is certainly damaging the Scottish National Party, and that is welcome indeed.

“I am sure that as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has got more than enough clamouring for his attention, but the threat of the loss of Scotland from the United Kingdom should be much nearer to the top of his list.

“It is the elephant in the corner of the room, and it is growing larger day by day whilst at long last the Covid threat looks as though it may have begun to diminish.”

A Holyrood committee is currently investigating how and why the Scottish Government mishandled its investigation into the original harassment complaints against Mr Salmond, which was deemed unlawful.

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The committee is also looking at whether or not Ms Sturgeon complied with the code of conduct for ministers.

Mr Salmond claims the current First Minister repeatedly broke the ministerial code in her handling of sexual harassment complaints against him.

He also alleges Ms Sturgeon mislead parliament.

She strongly denies both claims.

On Friday, Mr Salmond gave his evidence to the Holyrood committee where he reiterated his accusations against Ms Sturgeon and other high-ranking SNP officials.

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He has alleged a “malicous and concerted” effort among SNP figures to damage his reputation.

He said he had “no doubt” Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code and said: “I believe the first minister has broken the ministerial code… it’s not the case that every minister who breaks the ministerial code resigns.”

Mr Salmond continued: “I’ve got no doubt Nicola has broken the ministerial code.

“It’s not for me to suggest what the consequences should be – it’s for the people judging that, including this committee.”

He also told the committee of MSPs that Ms Sturgeon’s administration had “acted illegally” in its handling of the allegations.

The Scottish Government’s Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee was set up after the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against the former first minister to be “unlawful” in a judicial review.

This resulted in £512,250 in legal costs being paid out to Mr Salmond’s lawyers.

Mr Salmond was separately acquitted of all 13 charges including sexual assault, attempted rape and indecent assault following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last year.

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