Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Alex Salmond pulls out of inquiry appearance as Holyrood faces a ‘crisis’

Former first minister Alex Salmond.
Former first minister Alex Salmond.

Alex Salmond has pulled out of a planned appearance before MSPs after a dramatic day left the Scottish Parliament facing a “crisis of credibility”.

The committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment allegations against the former first minister will instead hold private talks on Wednesday on the future of its inquiry.

The probe was rocked on Tuesday after MSPs were forced to redact Mr Salmond’s evidence amid legal warnings from the Crown Office, just hours after it was published on Monday night.

A parliament spokeswoman said: “Mr Salmond has informed the committee that he will not be attending tomorrow’s meeting to give evidence.

“The committee will instead meet in private to discuss the implications of Mr Salmond’s response and the next steps for its work.”

It was reported that the former SNP leader had suggested to parliament officials he could appear on Friday to testify, after there had been time to consider the changes to his submission.

Mr Salmond’s legal team had earlier demanded to be shown the legal basis for the redactions, which were agreed after an emergency meeting of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB).

Labour MSP Neil Findlay.

In the Holyrood chamber, Labour MSP Neil Findlay described it as a “crisis for the credibility of this parliament”, as he called for the Lord Advocate to explain the actions of the Crown Office.

SNP politicians and Rape Crisis Scotland had previously warned that publishing the evidence could jeopardise court orders protecting the anonymity of the complainants in Mr Salmond’s trial last year, in which he was cleared of all charges.

The SPCB decided it was possible to publish the document, but was immediately contacted by the Crown Office after the submission was made publicly available on Monday night.


A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “The SPCB agreed to republish the submission in redacted form in line with representations from the Crown Office.

“We cannot comment any further on the redactions as the Crown Office has advised that its correspondence on this matter must be kept confidential.”

The Holyrood inquiry was set up to investigate the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment allegations against Mr Salmond.

It followed a Court of Session civil ruling that the process had been “unlawful” and “tainted by apparent bias”.

Mr Salmond was cleared of 13 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape, following a trial last year.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe.

‘Significant public interest’

Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie, a member of the committee, also called for Lord Advocate James Wolffe to make a statement to parliament.

“The committee must be able to see all relevant evidence if we are ever to get to the truth of the matter,” she said.

“However, it has been reported that the Crown Office wrote to the Scottish Parliament threatening the parliament with contempt of court action following the publication of Alex Salmond’s evidence.

“Given that the Lord Advocate is in charge of the Crown Office and a member of the Government, he should be invited to come before Parliament and make an urgent statement, along with the Crown Agent David Harvie.

“And – given the significant public interest – I have asked the Presiding Officer to publish the letter from the Crown Office to the Parliament, so that we can better understand the restrictions placed on the corporate body.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal Scottish politics team

More from the Press and Journal