Long-standing SNP MSP Linda Fabiani is the favourite to head-up the Holyrood investigation into the Scottish Government’s botched handling of harassment claims against Alex Salmond.
Ms Fabiani, a deputy presiding officer, was one of four SNP MSPs nominated yesterday by the party to sit on the nine-strong investigating committee.
SNP sources suggested Ms Fabiani, who has been a MSP since the creation of the parliament in 1999, was most likely to be appointed convener.
The appointment of Ms Fabiani, who served in Mr Salmond’s government, has yet to be confirmed. Another potential candidate could be the SNP’s Angela Constance, formerly education secretary in Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet, who will also sit on the committee.
Its remit was decided yesterday at a meeting of the Holyrood bureau made up of party whips. Parliamentary procedure means the SNP can chair the Committee on the Handling of Harassment Complaints, despite claims from opposition politicians that it is inappropriate post for a member of the governing party. The SNP, however, defied calls to step aside.
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The committee will examine the actions of Ms Sturgeon, government officials and special advisers in dealing with sexual misconduct complaints made against Mr Salmond.
The investigation will look at how the complaints were handled in relation to Scottish Government harassment procedure and in relation to the Ministerial Code.
Alastair Allan, MSP for the Western Isles, and Maureen Watt, MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine have also been nominated by the SNP for the committee, while the Tories have put up the former advocate Donald Cameron, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, and Margaret Mitchell.
They will be joined by Labour’s Jackie Baillie, Alison Johnstone of the Greens and Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton.
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Bearing in mind the concern there is about the SNP chairing the committee, it is now up to them to put forward a convener who can command the respect of parliament.”
Labour business manager Neil Findlay said: “Labour argued, in the strongest possible terms, against the SNP taking the chair of this committee.”
The Holyrood investigation was ordered following the collapse of the government’s sexual misconduct probe following a successful civil action by Mr Salmond.
Since then the former first minister has appeared in court charged with two attempted rapes, nine sexual assaults, two indecent assaults and one breach of the peace. The former Gordon MP has denied any criminality.