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.

Top aide to Nicola Sturgeon has moved to new civil service job

John Somers, principal private secretary to the first minister.
John Somers, principal private secretary to the first minister.

Nicola Sturgeon’s principal private secretary has moved to a new civil service job in the Scottish Government, it can be revealed.

John Somers, who gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament inquiry into the handling of harassment allegations against Alex Salmond in December last year, became deputy director in the police division in August.

He had served as Ms Sturgeon’s principal private secretary since February 2017, and it is understood he has now been succeeded in the role by Michelle Rennie.

It is the latest change among the first minister’s closest aides since the May election, with Colin McAllister recently replacing Liz Lloyd as chief of staff.

It has also recently been confirmed that the government’s most senior civil servant, Leslie Evans, is stepping down, having survived calls to quit over her role in the handling of harassment allegations against Mr Salmond.

Leslie Evans, permanent secretary to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government does not comment on staffing matters.

Committee evidence

In December, Mr Somers testified before the committee of MSPs investigating the botched way the harassment allegations against Mr Salmond were dealt with.

He was asked about two meetings he had with the complainant known as “Ms A” on November 20 and 21 2017.

On November 22, one day after the second meeting, Mr Somers forwarded a letter from Ms Sturgeon to Ms Evans asking the permanent secretary to confirm that the new harassment policy being drawn up at the time would include consideration of complaints made against former Scottish Government ministers.

Ms Sturgeon has said she found out about the allegations against Mr Salmond in April 2018.

John Somers, former principal private secretary to the first minister, gives evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee examining the handling of harassment allegations against former first minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Somers denied informing the first minister of the discussion, saying he only told his line manager, Barbara Allison, about the contact with Ms A.

On Tuesday, we reported that the other woman who initially complained about Mr Salmond in 2017, known as “Ms B”, had earlier approached Lisa Bird, a predecessor of Mr Somers as the first minister’s principal private secretary, to raise concerns.

‘Ms B’

The approach is revealed in the book, Break-Up: How Alex Salmond And Nicola Sturgeon Went To War, by Courier editor David Clegg and Kieran Andrews of The Times, which was published on Tuesday.

The earlier contact between Ms B and Ms Bird was noted in evidence submitted to Ms Evans as part of the permanent secretary’s 2018 investigation into allegations against Mr Salmond.

The inquiry was later ruled unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias by the Court of Session.

Separately, Mr Salmond was cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault following a two-week trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]