Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • well, Emily.

  • This is a moment of peril for Nicola Sturgeon.

  • Last week, Alex Salmond accused her of lying to the Scottish Parliament and of breaking the ministerial code over her handling of the allegations against her.

  • And then today, a release of a bundle of documents which go to the heart of this titanic struggle between the two giants of Scottish independence.

  • And they do help his case.

  • So in the first place we had a trail of emails and written submissions from lawyers warning the Scottish government that they had strong concerns that it could lose a judicial review into its handling of the complaints against Mr Salmon.

  • So let's take a look at this document from the 31st of October 2018 and this this shows you Roddy Dunlop Qc.

  • Who was the Scottish government's main outside legal advisor, raising concerns.

  • There you are.

  • I am very concerned indeed, and the reason why these concerns were being raised well, that's because the civil servant investigating the case had been in touch with the complainants and in the view of those lawyers that would make them ineligible for that task.

  • But then, let's look at another document this is 11th of December 2018, and this shows that Lord Wolf, that's the most senior Scottish law officer who is a member of the Scottish government, did not want to give up.

  • There you are.

  • This is an internal document saying the L A.

  • The Lord Advocate, was indeed clear about no question of conceding now.

  • The Scottish government did indeed throw in the town in January 2019.

  • They had then had to pay half a million pounds to Alex Salmond to cover his legal fees on top of having to cover their own legal fees.

  • Now these documents were only released to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee investigating all of this when it looked highly likely that John Sweeney, who is the deputy first minister, was going to lose a vote of no confidence in him in the Scottish Parliament.

  • Emotions, feelings running very high there we can look at an exchange between murder Fraser, who is the main Scottish member of that committee, and John Sweeney at Hollywood earlier today.

  • For months, the committee has been calling for publication of the legal advice.

  • There have been two votes in parliament last year calling for it to be published, and only now, at the very last moment when the metaphorical gun is held to the head of the deputy first minister and he is threatened with a vote of no confidence, does he finally agree to release some legal advice at the very last possible moment?

  • Servicer?

  • First of all, can I say that when if I heard Mr Fraser correctly and I may have misheard him and if I do, I will apologize.

  • But I think he said that a gun had been metaphorically held to my head.

  • No, I don't think presiding officer.

  • That is appropriate terminology for one member of Parliament to use to another.

  • Neither.

  • Now there was a second set of documents that go to the heart of Alex Salmond's claim that his successor of Scottish first minister misled the Parliament.

  • Now Nicola Sturgeon originally claimed that she first learned of the complaints of sexual harassment against him on the second of April 2018, when he told her about the matter meeting at her home.

  • Nicola Sturgeon subsequently admitted that she'd forgotten about a meeting four days later on the 29th of March with his former chief of staff, Jeff Abedin, who said that the complaints were discussed then and in the bundle of documents released tonight, there was a statement by Kevin Pringle, who's the SNP's former director, Communications, who confirmed that account.

  • Now Alex Salmond believes that after the Scottish government lost that judicial review in early 2019, a plot was hatched to arrest him for sexual assault.

  • He went on trial, and in March last year he was acquitted of all sexual assault charges, though he did admit to inappropriate behavior towards women that he worked with.

  • Now the Scottish government is calling for a vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon and her handling of this.

  • It's highly likely that shall survive because the Scottish Greens, who hold the balance of power, they're saying no, let's let the committee get on with its work and this is what a spokesperson for the first minister said of that vote.

  • To call a vote of no confidence in the middle of a pandemic before hearing a single word of the first ministers.

  • Evidence is utterly irresponsible, but this is all being watched with great care in Downing Street in London, and UK ministers believe that if Nicola sturgeon is forced out.

  • That would be a hammer blow to the independence cause because they believe that there is no one in the SNP who can match her star power.

  • And if she survives, they hope she will be damaged.

  • And the thinking, then, is that the tentative signs in a slowing of support for the SNP and a slowing of support for independence.

  • They hope that momentum will go in their direction.

  • Nick.

  • Thanks very much indeed.

  • Nick.

  • What?

  • There?

  • And it is a complicated story, but we're going to be joined now by Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish conservatives who today called for Nicola Sturgeon's resignation, and by Hamzi Yusuf, the Scottish Justice Secretary, and SNP MSP.

  • Good evening, gentlemen.

  • If I can start with Douglas, presumably you want to hear from the first Minister herself tomorrow before you make up your mind on this.

  • What is very clear from the evidence that has been released today is that Nicola Sturgeon has misled Parliament.

  • She's lied to the people of Scotland because we have credible witnesses confirming that she was aware of the allegations against Alex Salmond prior to when she previously said she was and, crucially, that complainants details were released to Mr Salmond's team.

  • I mean, that is just absolutely awful with the women at the heart of this.

  • It has been so badly let down.

  • And that's before we even look at the absolute waste of taxpayers money, given that the Scottish government knew months before they finally gave up in their case that it was doomed to failure.

  • So you would just say at this point what?

  • You don't even want to hear her evidence tomorrow?

  • Well, what I'm saying is there is no clear corroboration that nuclear surgeons like to parliament, and we have lost first ministers in Scotland for far less.

  • She is accused, and there is a huge amount of evidence now that she has misled Parliament and misled the people of Scotland.

  • There will be plenty of people tonight saying you have one rule for your party at Westminster and another for the SNP.

  • Conservative ministers in Westminster don't resign when they're accused of breaking the ministerial code.

  • Well, I think we've calculated over 30 occasions where we believe Nicola Sturgeon has breached the ministerial code a number of occasions where she has lied to Parliament, where she has failed to correct the record.

  • This is a damning indictment on her performance as first minister and also how she has left this government to continue with the legal face case that their own lawyers threatened to walk away from unless they ultimately dropped this case at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to our Scottish taxpayers.

  • This is still double standards, though, isn't it?

  • I mean, as a unionist, you must believe in common standards for both parties in both countries.

  • Well, I'm sure common standards also relates to the fact that Nicola Sturgeon, when choosing opposition with the SNP, calls for Henry McLeish to resign over an issue with subletting his office if we're looking at double standards or equal standards.

  • The Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP called for a former first minister to resign.

  • He did the right thing.

  • He resigned.

  • Nicola Sturgeon was to do the right thing and resigned.

  • You heard Nick's remarks just before that.

  • This will be seen as an attempt to weaken a very powerful leader at a critical point in Scotland's trajectory towards possibly a second referendum.

  • This is so crucial to restore trust in Scottish politics you're going to be speaking to the SNPs justice secretary, and I'd like to know how comfortable he is with the SNP refusing to follow two votes of the Scottish Parliament to release this legal advice.

  • And then today, damning evidence that has been released is incomplete, something with what was said between lawyers and the Scottish government in November.

  • That's some crucial period of time that we know the first minister and the permanent secretary.

  • The Scottish government met with council, but we don't know what's discussed the evidence and the advice given there.

  • So there's so many unanswered questions.

  • That's what we've got to get to the bottom of.

  • I'll put those to him in a second.

  • But does this begin and end with Nicola Sturgeon?

  • Or do you believe Scotland's institutions across the board are unfit for purpose?

  • Are you unhappy with the process of government that you have in Scotland?

  • This whole sorry saga is dragging down Scottish politics and the reputation of the Scottish Parliament, I've said before I was a school pupil.

  • When the parliament was re established in 1999 I lined the streets of Edinburgh with pupils from across Scotland celebrating devolution in this new style of politics we're going to get.

  • But after 14 years of failure from the SNP is taken down the whole reputation of parliament, and we just need to clear things up a fresh shirt.

  • And I believe that can only begin if we see the resignation of the first minister, who is clearly lied to Parliament and the people of Scotland home so you can turn to you.

  • It's looking increasingly hard to defend, isn't it?

  • First and foremost is the entire reason why we have a parliamentary inquiry is to hear the evidence is the reason why we have an independent prosecutor from from from Ireland, James Hamilton Looking at whether or not there's been a breach of the ministerial code is to here and investigate the evidence for Douglas Ross to determine Prejudge, not just the parliamentary inquiry, but the independent investigation shows that this is nothing but political naked political opportunism.

  • And Nick what got it absolutely right in your report.

  • Number 10 are watching this.

  • Not because they care about women who come forward to make allegations in relation to sexual harassment, but actually because what they want to do is try to weaken Nicola Sturgeon, weaken the SNP because there's been 22 poles in a role that was shown the independence.

  • Support for independence is the settled will of the Scottish people.

  • So you're the Scottish justice secretary.

  • You will stick with this process, and if she is found to have broken the ministerial code, presumably you will be the first in line to call for her to go.

  • It would be your job to uphold the law.

  • Is that right?

  • The first minister, of course, denies breaking.

  • The ministerial coach has said time and time again.

  • If she found guilty, though, if you let the process take its course, not just to the inquiry tomorrow but also, of course, there will be an independent investigation.

  • So forgive me.

  • I'm not going to get into the hypotheticals of what she should do if she has done this.

  • Other than that there is a process under way.

  • Let her give her evidence that she has been relishing that has been postponed by the inquiry on a number of occasions.

  • And then let's see what the Parliament recommendations and let's see what the independent investigators, uh, results of that investigation are because, yes, it's Justice secretary, I believe in natural justice.

  • That means listening to the evidence and then making informed decisions well after that.

  • It's confusing, though, because your leader in Westminster in Blackford told us on Friday these were his words allegations without substance.

  • And Nicholas, certain herself, said he was pursuing a conspiracy theory and a scorched earth policy.

  • Do you believe that as the Scottish justice secretary, That's sorry.

  • Forgive me that Alex Salmond was pursuing because basically, I think Sorry, forgive me.

  • I didn't hear.

  • Do you believe that these are allegations without substance?

  • In terms of the allegations being made about the Scottish government, I have read a number of spurious conspiracy theories, which I'm afraid to have been completely built on sand.

  • They have been washed away.

  • I mean, Alex Salmond was in front of the committee.

  • I'm sure you watched that.

  • I'm sure many people watched it, and when asked, of course, if you could provide documentary evidence of some of the assertions he was making, he was not able to do so.

  • But there is documentary evidence today, for example, that she was advised not to proceed with a case that she would surely lose.

  • I mean, the documents have been made clear now with other witnesses coming forward.

  • Well, forgive me.

  • You're being very selective.

  • You're saying that it was doomed from the beginning.

  • That is not correct.

  • Actually, in the very beginning, uh, the external counsel said that this case from the Scottish government is very strong.

  • As late as middle of November, our law officers, the Lord Advocate, our principal legal adviser was saying that the case was stable.

  • It was only later in December that the case was found to be unstable.

  • And then we conceded and settled that case early into the new year, some days or a couple of weeks thereafter.

  • So they drag out the process.

  • Of course.

  • Our principal legal adviser in the middle of December said that the case was stable.

  • There may come a time when if she is found to have broken the ministerial code and of course, we don't yet know the results of that yet.

  • But if she doesn't resign, you feel that the independence causes getting lost as a result of that or you suffer at the polls.

  • Is her survival worth more than that cause First and foremost, just as you mentioned in the questioning to Douglas flaws, there is an election in 2.5 odd months.

  • People will make up their own minds in relation to whether or not Nicola Sturgeon has, uh, whether she has their trust.

  • They will make a decision based on how she has responded in relation to the biggest challenge we've ever faced frankly in our lifetime, let alone in our government in response to the pandemic.

  • So people will have their choice.

  • They will hear from Douglas Ross, who, of course, is not a member of the Scottish Parliament, but they will hear from him who wishes to be first minister will hear from Nicola Sturgeon.

  • And I'm very, very confident.

  • I have to say, regardless of what comes out of the parliamentary inquiry, that she will be returned not just as first minister, but she will lead us to an independence referendum and ultimately to independence.

  • Winning that referendum the use of Douglas Ross.

  • Thank you both very much indeed.

well, Emily.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 scottish sturgeon nicola parliament snp minister

Holyrood Inquiry: Calls for Nicola Sturgeon to quit over Alex Salmond revelations - BBC Newsnight

  • 0 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/03
Video vocabulary