A report by QC James Hamilton has found that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not break the ministerial code over her handling of allegations levelled at her predecessor Alex Salmond.
Mr Hamilton’s report into whether the First Minister broke the ministerial code when she gave details of how she first learned about the allegations was published this afternoon.
The report said she did not break the ministerial code over any of the matters under investigation.
Mr Hamilton said those matters included:
1: That allegation that the First Minister’s failure to record meetings and phone calls with Alex Salmond amounted to a breach of the ministerial code.
2: The allegation that the First Minister may have attempted to influence the conduct of the investigation into the allegations against Mr Salmond.
3: The allegation that the First Minister misled the Scottish parliament in relation to her meetings with Mr Salmond.
4: The allegation that the First Minister was in breach of her duty to comply with the law in respect of the Scottish government’s response to the petition of Mr Salmond for judicial review of the procedure.
Mr Hamilton ruled that none of these matters broke the ministerial code.
Mr Johnson’s government broke the ministerial code by allowing large payments to the Prime Minister and other ministers to be kept secret
Even if the First Minister had been found to have knowingly misled parliament she could have remained in the job. A group of Boris Johnson’s ministers have been found guilty of breaking the ministerial code and none has resigned.
Mr Johnson’s government broke the code by allowing large payments to the Prime Minister and other ministers to be kept secret. A former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Alistair Graham, described the breach as ‘’scandalous’’.
An inquiry last year found home secretary Priti Patel bullied Whitehall staff and consistently failed to meet the high standards expected under the ministerial code. Boris Johnson took no further action.
A High Court ruling earlier this year found that health secretary Matt Hancock acted unlawfuly by failing to publish Covid contracts. He refused to bow to calls for his resignation.
The Holyrood committee looking at the Scottish government’s handling of the allegations has still to report its findings this week but we have already read reports that a majority of members have claimed by five votes to four the First Minister did mislead parliament … but, crucially, she did not ‘’knowingly’’ do so.
Mr Hamilton’s reports backs up the First Minister dismissal of calls for her resignation
That is not a breach of the ministerial code and is obviously politically motivated. The five votes against the First Minister were all lodged by opposition MSPs.
Mr Hamilton’s reports backs up the First Minister dismissal of calls for her resignation and a threat by Scottish Conservative Party to table a vote of no confidence on Tuesday will come to nothing.
Main photograph: Gordon Terris, Herald and Times
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