Saturday, 3 October 2020

Holyrood Inquiry - Conflicts of Interest

The newspapers report today that the SNP has 'lawyered up' by hiring one of Scotland's biggest law firms, Shepperd and Wedderburn, to represent its interests over the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair.

Given recent statements in the Scottish Parliament it's surely reasonable to ask from whom are these lawyers taking their instructions - the SNP Leader or the SNP Chief Executive? 

Either way there is surely a huge conflict of interest with the SNP CEO and Party Leader being husband and wife.


The Daily Record reports that Nicola Sturgeon is refusing to answer questions in the Scottish Parliament in connection with controversial WhatsApp messages allegedly sent by her husband, Peter Murrell.

Now no one has to answer for the behaviour of their spouse, but this is undoubtedly a very fair question to put to the Leader of the SNP and the fact that she happens to be married to the party's Chief Executive is neither here nor there.

The buck clearly stops with the party leader, but read the full story for yourself via the link below to the Daily Record.


Nicola Sturgeon refuses to say whether the WhatsApp messages linked to her husband on the Alex Salmond case are genuine

The First Minister was quizzed today at First Minister's Questions about a story broken by the Daily Record

By Paul Hutcheon - Daily Record


Murrell's 'Manuel Defence' 3 (24/09/20)

The SNP's former Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, now the MP for East Lothian, keeps up his attack on the party's chief executive, Peter Murrell. 

Read the full story in the link below to The Herald.

SNP MP calls for Sturgeon's husband to be suspended as party chief executive

By Tom Gordon - The Herald

SNP MP calls for Sturgeon's husband to be suspended as part chief executive

KENNY MacAskill has suggested Nicola Sturgeon’s husband should be suspended from his job as chief executive of the SNP for “conduct unbecoming”.

He said Peter Murrell should be investigated after the leak of WhatsApp messages which appear to show him urging police and prosecution action against Alex Salmond.

The messages date from January 2019, when Mr Salmond won a civil legal action against Ms Sturgeon’s government and was shortly afterwards charged with sexual assault.

The Crown Office last week instructed Police Scotland to investigate the leaked messages, which may have come from material disclosed to Mr Salmond’s trial defence team.

Murrell's 'Manuel Defence' 2 (21/09/20)

Peter Murrell has come under attack from the SNP's former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill over a claim that he was directly involved in the Alex Salmond affair.

Mr MacAskill has passed a document to Police Scotland which appears to show the SNP's chief executive backing police action against the former First Minister.

How very odd - read the full story via the link below to Paul Hutcheon's piece in the Daily Record.

MP demands probe into Nicola Sturgeon's husband's 'secret' WhatsApp messages about Alex Salmond

Former SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has demanded an investigation over claims a 'leaked' document appears to show Peter Murrell backing police action against the former First Minister.

By Paul Hutcheon - Daily Record

Alex Salmond, left, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, right (Image: Getty/PA)

Ex-Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has demanded a probe after a leaked document showed Nicola Sturgeon’s husband appearing to back police action against Alex Salmond.

A document passed to MacAskill appears to show SNP chief executive Peter Murrell calling for pressure to be put on the police over the Salmond case.

Another message appears to show Murrell supporting action by prosecutors in relation to the former first minister.

SNP MP MacAskill has passed the information to a Holyrood committee that is investigating the Salmond controversy as well as prosecutors at the Crown Office.

He said: “I can confirm that I received an anonymous letter containing a document. I have notified both Alex Salmond and the Crown and have passed it to the inquiry committee at the Scottish Parliament.

“I would like the Scottish Parliament and the Crown Office to investigate the contents of this document.”

MSPs are examining the Scottish Government’s botched handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Salmond when he was first minister.

Murrell's 'Manuel Defence' (10/09/2020)

Remembering Andrew Sachs, Manuel from Fawlty Towers | Stephen Liddell

I am not one of life's sceptics or a natural conspiracy theorist, but I have to say that Peter Murrell's explanation that he 'knew nothing' about Alex Salmond making two private visits to his home in 2018 sounds completely absurd.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously claimed that these visits were to do with SNP business and not the Scottish Government, but Peter Murrell is the chief executive of the SNP, as well as Nicola Sturgeon's husband.    

So it simply beggars belief that Peter Murrell turned a blind eye to what was going on because it's not exactly every day that a former First Minister turns up at your front door to have two separate meetings on important SNP business with your wife. 

Read Paul Hutcheon's report via the link below to the Daily Record.

Sturgeon's husband says she did not tell him about Alex Salmond sexual misconduct complaints

Peter Murrell said his wife informed him she "couldn’t discuss the details" about her meetings with Salmond on the complaints

By Paul Hutcheon - Daily Record

Sturgeon and Murrell - PA Image

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband has said she did not inform him that sexual misconduct complaints had been made to the Government about Alex Salmond.

Peter Murrell, who is the SNP chief executive, said his wife told him she could not discuss what was talked about at meetings between her and Salmond at the couple’s home.

He said he became aware of the complaints after they were made public in August 2018.

In 2018, the Daily Record revealed that the Government had investigated complaints of sexual misconduct by two women against Salmond.

Salmond took legal action and the internal Government probe was ruled to be unlawful and tainted by apparent bias.

The botched investigation cost the taxpayer over £500,000 and led to a special Holyrood committee being set up.

A key issue being examined by MSPs is contact between Sturgeon and Salmond when the investigation was ongoing. The pair met at Sturgeon’s house and also spoke on the telephone.

She has previously said she met Salmond in her capacity as SNP leader, which put the focus on the party as well as the Government.

Murrell, the SNP’s long standing chief executive, was asked a series of questions by the committee about when he first knew of the complaints and the meetings between his wife and Salmond.

In a response, he said: “I became aware that complaints had been made under the Scottish Government procedure when the matter became public in August 2018.

“I knew about the meetings between Nicola and Alex Salmond at our home on 2 April and 14 July 2018 and I had the sense that something serious was being discussed. Nicola told me she couldn’t discuss the details. The nature of Nicola’s job means that when she tells me she can’t discuss something, I don’t press it.”