D-Day for Nicola! Holyrood to release key documents over Alex Salmond legal advice today
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Amid threats of a vote in no confidence in Deputy First Minister John Swinney, the Scottish Government will release advice which relates to Mr Salmond’s legal challenge over sexual harassment claims made against him. The Government had previously rejected releasing the legal advice relating to a challenge but due to the serious nature of the allegations, the documentation will be released subject to legal checks. Mr Swinney said: “In normal circumstances, government legal advice is not released.
“Indeed, such is the importance of being able to get frank, private advice, it is almost unheard of for the legal advice to be released.
“But, we have to acknowledge that the issues at stake now are not normal.
“The very integrity of the legal system is being questioned.
“Serious allegations have been made. This material allows people to confirm that these allegations are false.
“We have already shared in private with the Scottish Parliament’s committee on these issues the substance of the advice.
“Now, we recognise that in order to counter to the false claims being made by some, we must go further.
“Subject to the mandatory legal checks and processes, we will release the key legal advice.”
On Monday, the Scottish Conservatives announced a no confidence vote against Mr Swinney, accusing him of failing to comply with two votes calling for the release of the information.
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During his inquiry hearing last week, Mr Salmond made a series of allegations towards Government officials.
He accused a number of officials, including the current First Minister, of attempting to obstruct evidence surrounding his judicial review in 2018.
Mr Salmond was acquitted of all sexual harassment claims, successfully challenged the Government’s conduct surrounding the complaints against him.
Holyrood later admitted it had acted unlawfully following the review and paid £500,000 in legal expenses to Mr Salmond.
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Holyrood had previously voted twice to release all legal advice surrounding the challenge.
In this latest no-confidence motion, all opposition parties backed the move by the Scottish Tories.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “Despite two votes in the Scottish Parliament demanding the legal advice be published, John Swinney only backed down and U-turned to save his own skin.
“It’s a pathetic reveal of what motivates the SNP. It’s not about getting to the truth, it’s only about self-preservation.
“But the Scottish Conservatives will not remove our no-confidence vote motion until the Government guarantees it will fully publish the legal advice.
“The Deputy First Minister is not in the clear yet. He must go further and fully publish the legal advice or we will not hesitate to force him out.”
Last week, Mr Salmond also accused the current First Minister of breaking the ministerial code.
Although he did not call for her to step down, he claimed Ms Sturgeon had misled the parliament.
Ms Sturgeon has denied doing so or that there was any plan to damage his reputation.
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