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Nicola Sturgeon vows to ‘get on with the job’ as she awaits Alex Salmond inquiry ruling
March 4, 2021
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to “get on with the job” after answering eight hours’ of questions over her government’s handling of harassment claims against her predecessor Alex Salmond.
A day after her lengthy evidence session before a Scottish parliament committee, Ms Sturgeon said she would now “rest on that”.
Mr Salmond, who was first minister from 2007 until 2014, was awarded a pay-out of more than £500,000 by the Court of Session after it ruled in January 2019 that the Scottish government had acted unlawfully.
He was acquitted of 13 charges in March 2020 following a criminal trial.
As well as the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints investigation, a separate inquiry is under way to consider if Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code in any way.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “I answered questions for eight hours on this yesterday. I answered every question that was put to me.
“So I intend now to rest on that, to allow both the committee and the inquiry on the ministerial code to conclude their work.
“In the meantime I am going to get on with doing the job I suspect most people watching at home right now want me to get on with – which is leading this country through and out of a pandemic.”
Ms Sturgeon added she would leave Ruth Davidson, who leads Conservative MSPs at Holyrood, and her party to “play the political games that they seem to prioritise over everything else”.
The first minister also targeted Ms Davidson over her imminent move to the House of Lords when her term as an MSP ends before May’s Scottish parliament elections.
“I will also in a few weeks subject myself to the ultimate scrutiny, the scrutiny and the verdict of the people of Scotland, the verdict that matters most,” Ms Sturgeon added.
“And as I do so Ruth Davidson will be slinking off to the House of Lords.”
During their exchanges, Ms Davidson had told MSPs there was “no argument if Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code – the argument is only about how badly she broke it”.
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New Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar challenged Ms Sturgeon to offer a “cast-iron guarantee” that the report into whether she breached the ministerial code would be published on the day it is presented to government, to which the first minister simply replied: “Yes.”
He also asked Ms Sturgeon if she would resign if she is found to have breached the ministerial code.
The first minister replied: “I will uphold my words in the foreword to the ministerial code.
“But I will also demand the right to due process, which one party at least is not prepared to give me.
“So let’s wait and see what the outcome of the inquiries are, they will be published, and then we can debate in this chamber the outcome of that.
“I sat before that committee, I answered every question and I will give the committee and the inquiry the opportunity now to do their work.”