The conservatives are calling for the politician to resign. She is under pressure because of her role in handling allegations against her predecessor.
DUBLIN taz | The Scottish Tories tabled a motion of censure against Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Wednesday. She comes under pressure because of her role in dealing with abuse allegations against her predecessor and party colleague Alexander Salmond: She is said to have lied to the regional parliament in Edinburgh. Salmond was accused of sexual assault, including attempted rape, by two women over two years ago.
In her testimony before a committee of inquiry in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said on Wednesday that the allegations against Salmond were so serious that they “couldn’t be ignored.” However, she had to admit that something went wrong during the internal investigation. State Secretary Leslie Evans, a confidante of Sturgeon who led the investigation, spoke to the two women before it began. Salmond suspects that this has influenced her statements.
At that time he demanded a judicial review, which proved him right. But Evans sent the investigation files to the police, triggering the criminal investigation against Salmond. In March last year, a court acquitted him.
The Scottish Parliament then called two separate inquiries. One is about the actions of the Scottish Government, the other is to determine whether Sturgeon lied to Parliament about the timing of when she found out about the allegations against Salmond. Sturgeon had declared before Parliament that Salmond had told her about it on April 2, 2018. In fact, however, she had been informed four days earlier by Salmond’s former chief of staff. Sturgeon says, however, that there was only general and vague talk about possible allegations against Salmond.
Salmond: “Insidious and concerted attempt”
Salmond, in his testimony last Friday, alleged that there had been “a deliberate, ongoing, insidious and concerted attempt by a number of people in the Scottish government and the SNP” to damage his reputation and send him to prison. Sturgeon denies that the then-established government policy on sexual harassment was directed against him. On Wednesday, she said that a stable process had been put in place, regardless of the rank or political affiliation of the person accused.
The Scottish public watched the clash with disbelief. On the one hand, serious mistakes by the Scottish government have come to light, on the other hand, there is no plausible explanation as to why Sturgeon is said to have plotted against her predecessor. Sturgeon said Wednesday that she was saddened by the situation because Salmond was not only a colleague but also a close friend that she admired.
The British government, on the other hand, rubs its hands together. It is not to be expected that the motion of censure against Sturgeon will be successful, although the SNP does not have a parliamentary majority. But in nine weeks the elections for the Scottish regional parliament are due. So far, the SNP could hope for an absolute majority. That is now in jeopardy – as is the majority for Scottish independence.
Polls had shown for months that more than half of the electorate wanted to leave the UK. At the beginning of the week the tide turned, in the course of the mud battle, a slim majority spoke out in favor of the Union.