Alex Salmond ‘clears diary’ as he seeks to give evidence to Holyrood inquiry

0

ALEX Salmond has cleared his diary to give evidence to a Holyrood inquiry on Wednesday next week, his lawyers have said. 

It comes after a senior judge slightly altered a court order made during the former first minister’s criminal trial last year. 

Mr Salmond’s team believe the move should allow evidence he submitted to an ongoing Holyrood inquiry to be published. 

He has made publication a precondition of his appearance before the committee.

However it is not clear whether this will happen, or what the impact of Lady Dorrian’s alteration will be.

 Senior judge says she will not ‘interfere with’ or ‘direct’ Salmond inquiry

The top judge made clear she will not “interfere with” or “seek to direct” the inquiry, which is meeting later today to discuss its next moves. 

In a letter to the committee, Mr Salmond’s lawyers said he has now submitted a revised version of the original evidence, as well as another submission.

They said: “Given the terms of the judgment and the matters debated at the court hearing last week, we now can see no impediment to publication.”

They added: “Our client would like to discuss practical arrangements for his attendance at the committee next week on the assumption that his submission will now be published. 

“He has cleared Wednesday from his diary and we can discuss timing with the clerks.”

MSPs on the inquiry are looking at how the Scottish Government botched its probe into sexual misconduct claims made against the former first minister by two civil servants in 2018.

Mr Salmond was due to give evidence last week but a row broke out after the inquiry narrowly vetoed publishing a submission by him.

 Judge publishes full reasons for varying Alex Salmond court order

The submission contains multiple accusations against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, including that she repeatedly misled parliament and so breached the Scottish ministerial code – a resignation offence which she denies.

The decision appeared to rule out Mr Salmond ever testifying in person, as he had made publication of the submission a precondition of an appearance.

However Mr Salmond’s team believe it could now be published following legal action taken by The Spectator.

The magazine challenged the scope and terms of a court order made during the former first minister’s trial.

Ronald Clancy QC, who was representing the magazine in its High Court application, said there was a concern the Holyrood inquiry was being “overcautious” in its interpretation of the order, which he argued was not sufficiently clear.

Following a hearing, Lady Dorrian agreed to vary it slightly, although not in the manner suggested by The Spectator.

She also made clear “all matters relating” to the Holyrood committee’s decisions “are in my view wholly irrelevant to any matters which it is within the jurisdiction of the court to address”. 

Mr Salmond was cleared of multiple counts of sexual assault following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last year.

The row around his evidence means Ms Sturgeon could have to wait until next month to give evidence before the inquiry.

Share.

Leave A Reply