Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - The former first minister's (pictured) statement did not contain a knockout blow against Miss Sturgeon, who he accuses of being complicit in a 'malicious' effort to destroy him.

Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - The former first minister's (pictured) statement did not contain a knockout blow against Miss Sturgeon, who he accuses of being complicit in a 'malicious' effort to destroy him.

Daily uk news  Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com
23 February 2021 - 19:31

Breaking News ! Alex Salmond will not appear at the inquiry into the Scottish Government's botched handling of sex assault complaints against him tomorrow after Holyrood redacted the most damning parts of his bombshell evidence against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.   Prosecutors had asked for portions of Mr Salmond's testimony to be redacted because of unspecified 'grave concerns', and this afternoon paragraphs from his written statement - including the accusation that the First Minister lied - were removed.The Scottish Government was immediately accused of a cover-up - and with media attention on Ms Sturgeon's roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown, opposition figures were quick to point out that the timing had all the hallmarks of burying bad news. Mr Salmond's allies allege sexual assault allegations against him were part of a plot designed to prevent his political comeback and cooked up by Ms Sturgeon's allies as the #MeToo movement gripped the world. The Scottish Parliament inquiry is considering the handling of sexual assault complaints against Salmond after his acquittal and today deleted portions of his written testimony after a request from prosecutors at the Crown Office.  The SNP civil war now threatens to tear the party apart just 10 weeks before the Holyrood elections, which some fear could lead to a second independence referendum if the nationalists dominate.  Mr Salmond's testimony was made public two weeks ago after a legal battle by the Spectator magazine that argued the risk of identifying his accusers should not stop the claims about the Scottish Government being made public.The now redacted claims have been published on its website and across the media after the ruling by the High Court in Edinburgh.Mr Salmond's legal team questioned the motives behind the censorship the testimony which accused to Sturgeon of lying to the Scottish Parliament about when she knew of the probe into Mr Salmond.A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman has now confirmed that Mr Salmond will not appear at the inquiry into the Government's botched handling of complaints against him tomorrow, stating: '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.' Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross told MailOnline: 'The SNP have used every trick in the book to subvert the Scottish Parliament and protect Nicola Sturgeon.' Scroll down to read the censored evidence Before: Mr Salmond's testimony made claims against Ms Sturgeon and her office which have now been redacted After: The Scottish Parliament redacted the most damning parts of Mr Salmond's bombshell evidence against Ms Sturgeon Mr Salmond accuses Scottish prosecutors of withholding evidence proving Ms Sturgeon's aides conspired with civil servants to press ahead with taking the allegations against Mr Salmond to court despite legal advice he would be cleared Media attention in Scotland today (pictured, the first minister) was focused on Ms Sturgeon's roadmap out of lockdown as she announced the plans this afternoon Allegations, discussions, denials and a 'forgotten' key meeting between Sturgeon and Salmond November 2017: Allegations regarding Alex Salmond's behaviour are raised with the SNP by Sky News.Nicola Sturgeon said she spoke to him about this – and he 'denied it'. No further action was taken.March 29, 2018: Ms Sturgeon meets Geoff Aberdein - Mr Salmon's chief of staff - in her Scottish parliament office where she has admitted they discussed the possibility of a meeting with Mr Salmond. Ms Sturgeon – after initially forgetting about this meeting – says there was 'the suggestion that the matter might relate to allegations of a sexual nature'.April 2, 2018: Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond meet at the First Minister's home. According to Ms Sturgeon, this is the first time she heard of the complaints made against him. Despite this, she has insisted that the matters discussed were party business.April 23, 2018: Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond hold a 'substantive' phone discussion. During this call, Ms Sturgeon claims that Mr Salmond asked whether she would speak to Leslie Evans about 'mediation' with the complainants. A special adviser was in the room at the time.June 6, 2018: Ms Sturgeon writes to Mrs Evans to inform her that she has held discussions with Mr Salmond.June 7, 2018: Ms Sturgeon again meets Mr Salmond, this time in Aberdeen ahead of the SNP party conference.July 14, 2018: Ms Sturgeon meets Mr Salmond at her home near Glasgow.July 18, 2018: Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond speak again on the phone. Ms Sturgeon said that 'by this time' she was 'anxious – as party leader and from the perspective of preparing my party for any potential public issue – to know whether his handling of the matter meant it was likely to become public in the near future.'This is the last time Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond speak. During this time they also exchange a number of WhatsApp messages in which they discuss the affair – including Mr Salmond's decision to seek a judicial review over the government's probe into the two complaints. January 2019: Mr Salmond wins sexual harassment inquiry case against Scottish government and is awarded £500,000 in legal fees.  March 23, 2020: Alex Salmond is cleared of all sexual assault charges and his supporters demanded a full inquiry into the Scottish Government's handling of the scandal.January 24, 2021: Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Ms Sturgeon denies misleading the Scottish Parliament after 'forgetting' to tell MSPs about her meeting with Mr Salmond's aide on March 29, 2018.February 8, 2021: Peter Murrell, the SNP's chief executive and the First Leader's husband, is accused of a 'dismal and shifty' performance as he gave evidence to the inquiry on Zoom.February 16, 2021: Mooted date for Ms Sturgeon to appear before the inquiry. adverts.addToArray({"pos":"mpu_factbox"})Advertisement Mr Salmond was due to accuse Ms Sturgeon's husband and other top aides of a 'malicious' plot to send him to prison over sexual assault. Despite the allegations, Ms Sturgeon insists the former first minister has 'not a shred of evidence' against her.  But media attention in Scotland today was focused on Ms Sturgeon's roadmap out of lockdown, and opposition figures were quick to point out the timing had all the hallmarks of burying bad news.Publisher of the Spectator Andrew Neil said: 'Scots were brought up to believe their legal system was among the best in the world. Not after the latest shenanigans of the Crown Office.'Let us step back and appreciate the enormity of events in Scotland today. Former First Minister Alex Salmond is accusing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of lying to/misleading Parliament and part of a ScotGov/SNP move to jail him. 'The Sturgeon Clown Office is insisting that crucial evidence supporting the Salmond case be redacted, which means it can't be considered by the official Inquiry into his claims. This in a democracy. Or former one.'The important point to grasp here is that if the Crown Office succeeds in un-publishing Salmond's submission then the Inquiry cannot consider it when it comes to finalising its conclusions. Devious.'  Mr Salmond's lawyer says the decision to censor his evidence is of 'significant surprise and concern' and said the Crown Office's intervention 'only serves to reinforce' his fears about prosecutors. Two pieces of Mr Salmond's evidence were published on the Scottish government website yesterday.The first, previously published by the Spectator, had the accusations of Ms Sturgeon lying to Parliament about when she first learned of an investigation into accusations of sexual assault.The most serious risk to Ms Sturgeon in the unfolding drama is Mr Salmond's claim is evidence in this statement that she lied to the Scottish Parliament about when she knew about the investigation into sex assault allegations against him. If it's proven she lied, she could be forced to resign.In that statement Mr Salmond says his chief of staff met her on March 29, 2018, to discuss the probe - she later told the Scottish Parliament that she first learned of the probe on April 2 2018. Mr Salmond says this is a breach of the Ministerial Code. Sturgeon would later claim to have 'forgotten' the March 29 meeting.   The second previously unreleased statement named Ms Sturgeon's husband and four other aides and civil servants and accused them of being complicit in a 'malicious' effort to bring sexual harassment and attempted rape charges against him of which he was cleared.Also among his evidence is an email sent by Ms Sturgeon's office to Scotland's top civil servant Leslie Evans saying Scottish government sexual harassment policy should be expanded to include former ministers.The message, sent on November 17, 2017, came 11 days after the first claims of sexual assault against Mr Salmond.He says the 'radical expansion' of the policy 'must have been inserted to allow the complaint against me to be prosecuted'. Mr Salmond's other explosive statement names five of Ms Sturgeon's top aides and civil servants accusing them of colluding against him in a 'malicious' plot to have him charged with 13 counts of sexual assault.He called for some of them to resign and claims their conduct could amount to a 'conspiracy' at the highest levels in Scottish government.He claimed in the submission the 'inescapable conclusion' was that there was a 'malicious and concerted' attempt to see him removed from public life in Scotland.Ms Sturgeon's husband and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, Principal policy adviser Leslie Evans, chief of staff Liz Lloyd, compliance officer Ian McCann and chief operating officer Sue Ruddick were all complicit in efforts to damage his reputation, Mr Salmond says.In his latest statement, Mr Salmond alleges that while probing sexual assault claims against him, SNP officials were also drafting the Fairness at Work Policy 2010.He claims Ms Lloyd drafted an amendment in November 2017 to tweak a policy to include 'former Ministers, including from previous administrations regardless of Party'.He makes the link between this email and the claims made against him by the female complainants - meaning he could be prosecuted.He says there was also a political intervention when Ms Sturgeon and the Permanent Secretary agreed before December 2017 that she should be distanced from the policy and only told when it was done.Mr Salmond claims: 'When the Permanent Secretary agreed with the First Minister that she should take over as key decision maker in terms of this new policy she was already aware of the developing complaints against me.'Therefore she put herself at the centre of a policy in the full knowledge that I would likely be the first (and perhaps only given the subsequent declaration of illegality) subject of its implementation. Doing so from a position of already being tainted by bias is an extraordinary decision.'He also says the Scottish government was advised by external counsel in October 2018 that the 'balance of probability' was that 'they were heading for likely defeat' in its case against him.He said: 'And yet, despite that advice and the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds of avoidable legal fees, the Scottish Government pressed on with a case they expected to lose.'He added: 'However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all is the complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law.'Mr Salmond faced 13 charges including one of attempted rape, one of intent to rape, nine charges of sexual assault and two of indecent assault.The ex-SNP leader was cleared of all charges by a jury following an 11-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.The jury returned not guilty verdicts on 12 charges and returned a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape.  SNP Chief Executive, Peter Murrell arrives to give evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee at Holyrood in December Liz Lloyd, Nicola Sturgeon's Chief of Staff, at an SNP event at which Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out the next steps in the SNP's campaign for Scottish independence, on January 31, 2020 Sue Ruddick (pictured) was also complicit in efforts to damage his reputation, Mr Salmond says RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Nicola Sturgeon launches rival lockdown roadmap for Scotland... Alex Salmond accuses Nicola Sturgeon's SNP chief exec... Share this article Share Nicola Sturgeon's aides who Alex Salmond accuses of being complicit in efforts to damage his reputation Nicola Sturgeon's husband and SNP Chief Executive Peter MurrellPeter Murrell has been chief executive of the SNP since 1999.The 56-year-old was educated at Craigmount High School and Glasgow University before moving into politics.He later worked in the Banff and Buchan constituency office of former First Minister Alex Salmond, who he now faces accusations from.He met Ms Sturgeon in 1988 at the constituency office and they became a couple in 2003.The pair got married in July 2010 at Òran Mór Glasgow.Chief of Staff Liz LloydNicola Sturgeon's Chief of Staff Liz Lloyd is no stranger to controversy.Only last month the special adviser was blasted for tweeting criticism of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.As a civil service she is supposed to remain apolitical.The rules say she 'must not take public part in political controversy', including on 'social media'.Now she is also wrapped up in accusations she was part of a 'witch hunt' to destroy Alex Salmond.Ms Lloyd has been at the top of Scottish politics for nearly a decade - being a Spad for nine years and chief of staff for six years.Before that she was head of the SNP's media operations for four years and an adviser to MSP Jim Mathers for three years earlier.Edinburgh University educated Lloyd studied an MA in American studies and an MSc in European and comparative public policy before entering politics.Her LinkedIn calls for: 'a strong, successful and independent Scotland.'Permanent Secretary Leslie EvansThe head of Scotland's civil service could be sacked from the role as MSPs prepare to 'throw her under the bus'.Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans is expected to be slammed in a report on Holyrood's handling of the Alex Salmond affair.There are reportedly plans underway to get Ms Evans out of office earlier than her scheduled leave next spring.A source told The Sunday Times MSPs on the special committee are 'preparing to throw her under a bus'.Ms Evans is a 62-year-old civil servant from Northern Ireland who moved to Sheffield as a child before studying music at Liverpool University.She started living in Scotland in 1985 and joined the government in 2000 after 20 years working in local authorities.She was the first woman to land the top civil service job - from May 2015 - and earns around £175,000 a year.Chief Operating Officer Sue Ruddick The mother of three is the chief operating officer for the Scottish National Party.She worked in London as chief of staff for the SNP Westminster Group before heading up to Scotland.Ms Ruddick had before that been a parliamentary press and research assistant after being a part time swimming teacher.The Aberdeen University educated politico has a master's degree in history and also took courses in German, Spanish, sociology, psychology and international relations.Her LinkedIn profile says: 'A pro-active and talented Communications Professional with extensive experience in corporate image development and business administration.'Proven track record of successful design, implementation and management of innovative communication strategies leading to significant increases in efficiency and gains for the company.'Compliance Officer Ian McCannIan McCann is the point of contact at SNP Headquarters in Edinburgh, according to the party's website.His Twitter bio says: 'Two kids, two chins, eclectic taste in film and music. I mostly avoid discussion of politics, but if I do, I reserve the right to joke.'He often retweets First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and is followed by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.    adverts.addToArray({"pos":"mpu_factbox"})Advertisement In his submission to the inquiry, Mr Salmond said had it not been for the jury system, a campaign to remove him from public life might have 'succeeded'.In a different submission, Ms Lloyd ardently rejected being part of a conspiracy and said this was 'not substantiated by any evidence'.She also denied leaking details of a Scottish Government inquiry into the allegations to the Daily Record newspaper.According to Mr Salmond, the 'most obvious and compelling evidence of such conduct' is contained in materials the Crown Office 'refuses to release'.He said: 'That decision is disgraceful.'Mr Salmond has called for evidence he obtained ahead of his criminal trial – but was not used in court – to be released by prosecutors, but they have refused.He said such a move 'makes it impossible for the Committee to complete its task; and that the 'only beneficiaries of that decision to withhold evidence are those involved in conduct to damage (and indeed imprison) me'.Mr Salmond also accuses Mr Murrell of deploying 'his senior staff to recruit and persuade staff and ex-staff members to submit police complaints'.He said: 'This activity was being co-ordinated with special advisers and was occurring after the police investigation had started and after I ceased to be a member of the SNP.'Mr Murrell has previously denied there was a conspiracy against Mr Salmond.Mr Salmond has also used his final submission before he is expected to appear at Holyrood to demand resignations over the affair, hitting out at the 'real cost' to the Scottish people which he believes to be 'many millions' of pounds.He said: 'No one in this process has uttered the simple words necessary on occasions to renew and refresh democratic institutions – 'I resign'.'But last night Miss Sturgeon claimed there was 'not a shred of evidence' of a conspiracy.She told STV News: 'He has made claims, or he appears to be making claims or suggestions there was some kind of conspiracy against him or concerted campaign against him.'There is not a shred of evidence about that, so this is the opportunity for him to replace insinuation and assertion with evidence. I don't believe he can because I know what he is saying is not true.'If he can't provide that evidence he should stop making these claims about people because they're not fair.'She refutes Mr Salmond's claims that she did breach the ministerial code. She added: 'The Scottish Government, of course, made a mistake in this. But this week it's an opportunity for Alex Salmond – I hope he will come to the committee on Wednesday.An SNP spokesman said: 'This is just more assertion without a shred of credible evidence.'Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross told MailOnline: 'The SNP have used every trick in the book to subvert the Scottish Parliament and protect Nicola Sturgeon.'Preserving the anonymity of the female complainers is paramount.'However, Parliament must have the power to hold the SNP government to account for its actions which failed these women and cost taxpayers at least £1million.'There are serious questions about the dual role of the Lord Advocate as a Scottish Government minister and head of what is supposed to be an independent and impartial prosecution service.'The people of Scotland deserve so much better than the SNP sleaze of Sturgeon and Salmond.'Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie added: 'The committee must be able to see all relevant evidence if we are ever to get to the truth of the matter. 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.'Too much time and money has been spent on this sordid tale. The committee must be able to get on with its work, unobstructed and without information being inappropriately withheld.'Chairman of the Spectator Mr Neil tweeted: 'Using lame and bogus jigsaw identification excuses, it's almost as if the Crown Office was acting on behalf of Scot Gov to stop important/embarrassing information from reaching the public domain, where it belongs.'He added: 'The important point to grasp here is that if the Crown Office succeeds in un-publishing Salmond's submission then the Inquiry cannot consider it when it comes to finalising its conclusions. Devious.'Yesterday, Rape Crisis Scotland demanded the Scottish parliament should convene an 'emergency' meeting to rethink the decision to publish Mr Salmond's submission.Chief executive Sandy Brindley warned it was 'inexplicable' Holyrood chiefs would 'knowingly publish' material which could risk identifying someone who had complained about Mr Salmond. Ms Sturgeon is expected to give evidence at the inquiry next week.  Alex Salmond's submission to the Harassment Complaints Committee last night1Submission Alex SalmondIntroductionThis is my fourth submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry. It should be read in addition to, and in conjunction with, the three other previous submissions. Those prior submissions relate to the application of the procedure (phase 2), the Judicial Review (phase 3) and the Ministerial Code (phase 4).This final document accordingly includes an introduction and overview of matterslinking each of the four individual submissionsIt thereafter includes submissions on1. phase 1 of the Inquiry.2. the question of 'conspiracy'3. Crown OfficeDocumentary evidence exists to support all of the factual statements made in thissubmission. I have sought to provide that to the Committee where it is within mypower to do so. Despite repeated requests, however, Crown Office has not providedthe Committee with the critical evidence which was unable to be led in the HighCourt. Perhaps even more concerning is the direction from Crown Office that I facethe prospect of criminal prosecution for even referring to the existence of suchevidence or specifying (even in broad terms) what that evidence is. One of their letterseven suggested that the Committee's use of such documentation might also constitutea criminal offenceMy hope and belief, expressed outside the High Court in Edinburgh after myacquittal, was that documents which were not put before the jury and the public wouldbe published in the course of this Inquiry. To date, and despite the centrality of thosedocuments to the remit of this Committee and the overwhelming public interest intheir publication, Crown Office continue to veto any such publication under threat ofprosecution.Despite that deplorable prohibition, I can confirm that all of the material factualstatements made in this submission are supported by documentary evidence. Where Iam legally allowed to direct the Committee to such documents, I will be happy to doso.OverviewThe Committee has achieved progress in the volume of documentation supplied.However it has been fundamentally obstructed in three key areas.First on the legal advice which the Government received from external counsel in theJudicial Review. In normal circumstances the extraordinary discovery by thisCommittee that both Senior and Junior Counsel to the Government threatenedresignation because the case they were being asked to argue was unstateable would2have been headline news. However, despite two parliamentary votes, the full advicefrom Counsel hasn't been provided to the Committee. It is extraordinary that theLord Advocate, who could sanction such advice being published, has refused to do so.The legal provision for him to publish in the public interest is clear. Inexplicably, theLord Advocate has been able to simply refuse that request and to get away with doingso in the face of the will of the Committee and of Parliament. Despite that, it appearsfrom what has emerged that by October 2018 external counsel advised theGovernment that, on the balance of probability, they were heading for likely defeat.And yet, despite that advice and the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds ofavoidable legal fees, the Scottish Government pressed on with a case they expected tolose. This submission explains why.Second the restriction arises as a result of the failure of the Government to providedocuments from when the Judicial Review started in August 2018 until the ScottishGovernment finally conceded in January 2019. There were 17 meetings with externalCounsel, daily meetings on progress of defending the Judicial Review (according toPaul Cackette, acting Solicitor to the Scottish Government during the case) and thriceweekly meetings according to Ms Judith Mackinnon, the Investigating Officer.However, the Committee has yet to publish (or to my knowledge see) a singlerelevant minute, email, text message or 'One Note' from that entire period relating tothose meetings despite being assured that such documents would be provided. Ofparticular interest to the Committee would be the extent to which various parties wereinformed of the progress of the case and in particular whether the Lord Advocate'sexpressed views on 'sisting' (pausing) the Judicial Review pending the criminal casewere discussed, how widely and with whom.Thirdly, the crown response to the section 23 request has hindered rather than assistedthe Committee. The information provided was neither sought nor publishable by theCommittee. Those in Crown Office providing that information must have been wellaware of that. However, text messages which could be properly considered andpublished and which have been part of the Committee's questioning and would beardirectly on the veracity of evidence given under oath to this Committee have beenwithheld. The blocking of the Committee in this matter and others is nothingwhatsoever to do with protecting the anonymity of complainants, which I support andhave upheld at every stage in this process. Rather, it is a matter of the shielding ofsome of the most powerful people in the country who are acutely aware of howexposed they would become.The Parliamentary Committee has already heard evidence of activities by civilservants, special advisers, Ministers and SNP officials which taken individually couldbe put down to incompetence, albeit on an epic scale. However taken together, andover such a prolonged period, it becomes impossible to explain such conduct asinadvertent co-incidence. The inescapable conclusion is of a malicious and concertedattempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland. It is anattempt which would, in fact, have succeeded but for the protection of the court andjury system and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all is thecomplete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between3Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any countrywhich abides by the rule of law.In each of the written submissions under Phases 1-4 of the Inquiry remit I have soughtto explore those themes, and identify evidence to assist the Committee in doing its jobholding the Executive to account.The success, or failure, of this Committee in doing so will have a very significantbearing on public confidence in the ability of Parliament more generally to exposefailures across Government. The ramifications of a Committee unable to complete itswork due to delay, obstruction and refusal on the part of those under investigation areboth profound and chilling.Phase 1In relation to Phase 1, I am asked for evidence regarding the development of thepolicy.I would make the following general comments, on which I will be very happy toexpand in oral evidence.1) Fairness at WorkThe Committee has heard evidence on the origins of the Fairness at Work Policy 2010('FaW'). As First Minister I approved the policy and, in contrast to any otherwitnesses before this Inquiry, I was actually involved in its development.Implementation of the policy was achieved with the co-operation of the trade unionsand I was pleased to be the First Minister who sanctioned its adoption.As Appendix 1 from a Management Board meeting of 23 November 2009 makesclear, it was not evolved as a result of specific complaints about Ministers at the timebut reflected long standing trade union grievances about Ministerial Offices stretchingback to the days of the Scottish Office. FaW was the first workplace policy to includeMinisters and I approved it on the basis that it was made compatible with the statutebased Ministerial Code in which the First Minister is the final decision maker on thefate of a Minister facing a complaint. This was done by placing the Deputy FirstMinister in the deliberative part of the policy. The result was that only after arecommendation had been made would the First Minister finally decide. This wasaimed at avoiding him or her judging twice on the same case. The policy wasnegotiated over a period of 18 months, was carefully constructed, balanced andlawful. It was well received by all concerned.In the event there were no formal complaints made against any Minister under thepolicy and thus it was never invoked. Specifically and to my knowledge the presentFirst Minister was never informed about any complaints against me because therewere none. Similarly I was never informed about any complaints against her or anyother Minister under the terms of this policy because there were none.4In the evidence of Ms Richards (25th August 2020) she revealed that there have beentwo complaints under FaW against current Ministers since 2017. Presumably thesewill have been dealt with under the FaW provisions including the involvement ofJohn Swinney as Deputy First Minister.This Committee is charged with finding out what went wrong. It should also look atwhat can be done now to put matters right.Fairness at Work, of which the Permanent Secretary admitted in her evidence (inresponse to Ms Mitchell on 18th August 2020) to 'not being an expert', is in reality acarefully considered policy which is still in operation for the civil service and forserving Ministers with regard to bullying complaints. The Permanent Secretary'sextraordinary claim in the same evidence session that it does not cover harassmentcan only be a result of her admitted lack of familiarity with the policy. In reality itcovers this explicitly in paragraph 3.2.1. As recently as December 2017 FaW washailed by the unions in a letter to the Permanent Secretary as an achievement 'ofwhich we all should rightly be proud and something that sets up as being moreassiduous than our counterparts down south' ( FDA Convener)FaW is legal, not illegal. It is procedurally fair, not unfair. It was carefully considered,not rushed. It achieved the central longstanding workforce ambition of havingMinisters on the same footing as civil service managers. No doubt it can be updatedand improved but the current position of limbo is ridiculous.The concept of a civil service investigation into people over which they have nolegitimate jurisdiction is nonsensical and the idea of passing the results to the relevantpolitical party for action is self- evidently ludicrous. If legal action wasn't takenagainst the government it would inevitably follow against any political party whichattempted to proceed with any form of disciplinary action on such an unlawful basis.Fairness At Work should be reinstated at the earliest opportunity pending the Dunlopreview.2) The Development of the 2017 ProcedureThe Committee has already clearly established that there was no discussion orinformation presented to either Parliament or Cabinet on the 31st October 2017 ofextending work place policies to former Ministers. Nor was there any suggestion thatthis should be done in the Head of the Civil Service's letter of 3rd November 2017.And of course it was not carried forward in any other administration in the U.K. andwas opposed by of the UK Cabinet Office when they were briefly consultedon the proposal later in November 2017. As she wryly asked the Scottish Governmentat that time, was there also to be such a retrospective policy for former civil servants?Nor was the new policy signalled in any of the internal communications with staffuntil February 2018.The claim of the Government is that it came about independently from James Hyndwho was tasked with drafting the policy and delivered the first draft applying ONLY[Redacted] [Redacted]5to Former Ministers on November 8th 2017. However the previous day MsMcKinnon had circulated a 'routemap' of a policy which also suggested applying toformer Ministers. Mr Hynd reacted to that on 8th November saying that 'neither ofthe pathways involving Ministers look right'.It is stretching credibility to believe that this radical departure from all previous policyin the Scottish (or any other) administration was simultaneously and independentlydreamed up by two separate civil servants. This is despite Mr Hynd telling theCommittee on August 25th 2020 that he started with 'a blank sheet of paper'. In oneof the many letters to the Committee from civil servants correcting their evidence, MsMackinnon conceded on October 31 2020 that these things were 'happening inparallel'. Indeed they were and there was a common factor. That common factor isthe Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans whose office was deeply involved in directingthe work of both James Hynd on his policy and Ms Mackinnon on her route map.In addition we know now that Ms Evans went to see the First Minister on November6th about her information that Sky News were about to run a story concerningEdinburgh airport. I am now in the position to know exactly what this issue was aboutand the Permanent Secretary's fears that it was about to break as a major story weregroundless. However in the febrile atmosphere of November 2017 a sense ofproportion and due process was in short supply.In reality I had spent 30 years in public life in Scotland and for most of that time wascertainly the most investigated person in the country by the press. It is inherentlyunlikely that misconduct had remained unreported and undiscovered over such aperiod. Mr Murrell confirmed in his evidence to this Committee that he had neverheard of any such complaint against me in my entire time in politics and the FirstMinister confirmed this on BBC television to Andrew Marr on 7th October 2018.Regardless, the chronology revealed by the evidence tells us that the PermanentSecretary briefed the First Minister on 6th November 2017 on the proposed storyinvolving Edinburgh Airport. Further, the Permanent Secretary was contacted byBarbara Allison about a separate concern from a former civil servant on November 8th2017. Having briefed the First Minister on the first of these it might be consideredunlikely that she did not brief her on the second. In that context, the notion that apolicy instructed immediately afterwards which specifically, and uniquely, extendedto cover allegations against former ministers is co-incidental and unrelated is hardlysustainable.If further confirmation of the basis for the policy were needed, the Committee hasevidence of two directly political interventions at this stage.First, the Chief of Staff to the First Minister drafted a specific amendment on 17November 2017 which amended the commissioning letter instructing the policyproposing the wording 'but also former Ministers, including from previousadministrations regardless of Party'. This was in an email to Leslie Evans' PrivateSecretary. It is impossible to accept that such a radical expansion of the jurisdiction ofthe Scottish Government to cover not just former ministers of the currentadministration but also those of previous administrations (many of whom are no6longer even in elected office never mind in Government) was not specifically insertedto allow the complaint against me to be prosecuted.The second political intervention was when the First Minister and the PermanentSecretary reached agreement, perhaps at their meeting on November 29th but certainlybefore December 5th 2017, that the policy should be recast in order that FM should betaken out of the policy proper and only consulted or even informed after the processwas complete. This was a fundamental change in the policy.The timing of this is significant. When the Permanent Secretary agreed with the FirstMinister that she should take over as key decision maker in terms of this new policyshe was already aware of the developing complaints against me. Therefore she putherself at the centre of a policy in the full knowledge that I would likely be the first(and perhaps only given the subsequent declaration of illegality) subject of itsimplementation. Doing so from a position of already being tainted by bias is anextraordinary decision.Despite her protestations to the contrary the Permanent Secretary was chieflyresponsible for the pursuit of an unlawful policy which has cost the Scottish peoplemillions of pounds.In her letter of 21st June 2018 to Levy and McRae she describes the policy as'established by me'. She claimed ownership of it then, but not now. When asked atthe Committee she said 'there seems to have come into being a tradition of calling itmy procedure. It is not; it is a Scottish Government procedure and one that has beenagreed by Cabinet..' In fact, this procedure was never even seen by Cabinet orParliament.It was established by Ms Evans.In her presentations before the Committee, the Permanent Secretary still seemsoblivious to the scale of the disaster she has inflicted on all concerned or the enormityof the misjudgements she has made.The view that she should have resigned on 8th January 2019, the day that LordPentland's interlocutor judged the policy Ms Evans established and the actions takenas 'unlawful', 'unfair' and 'tainted by apparent bias' is widely shared not least byCabinet Ministers. The damage she has done to the reputation of the civil service isvery significant. In my view, any person conscious of the responsibility of holdinghigh office would have resigned long ago. Instead Ms Evans' contract was extended.3) The role of the Investigating OfficerAs the Committee has already discovered the 'prior contact' of the InvestigatingOfficer with the complainants was not 'welfare', as was indicated to Parliament, butwas specifically contact about emerging complaints, weeks before the policy underwhich they were to be pursued was even approved.The Committee has already established that complainants were informed that MsMcKinnon would be appointed the Investigating Officer in early December 2017,7long before complaints were actually made. The Committee has further establishedthat the draft policy was even shared with one complainant for her comment and thatMs Mackinnon was in contact with both complainants to discuss the basis on whichfuture complaints might be submitted under the policy.Documentation which finally emerged at the Commission and Diligence ordered bythe Court of Session at the end of December 2018 demonstrated that the Governmentpleadings were false in terms of the nature of this contact. This has been admitted bythe Lord Advocate in his evidence to the Inquiry on 8th September 2020. Again, suchconduct appears to carry no sanction. These are serious matters, especially so for aGovernment making statements to a public court.For example the 'OneNote' from Judith McKinnon dated January 9th 2018, andrevealed as a result of the Commission process, speaks to 'changing' the position of areluctant complainant, the sharing of complaints, and of it 'being better to get thepolicy finalised and approved before formal complaint comes in' and of not tellingthe FFM until we are 'ready'. It is this information that was completely at odds withthe government pleadings in the Judicial Review and indeed stands in stark contrastwith the oral evidence presented to the Committee.These practices are not just wrong, they are an affront to the principles whichunderpin workplace and human resources policy across the country. The Committeehas made reference to ACAS guidance at various stages of the Inquiry. How suchconduct could even be contemplated by an individual employed at significant publicexpense and with a string of HR qualifications remains to be explained.Watching the evidence before the Committee, it is apparent to me that even afterhaving conduct declared illegal in the Court of Session, those at fault in the civilservice still cannot accept the fact that they did something seriously wrong. In realitybehaving unlawfully is as serious as it gets for any public servant.The repeated claim that the terminology somehow changed for the first to the finaldrafts of the procedure thus causing confusion for those implementing the policy isnot just irrelevant (since it is only the final version that matters) it is also untrue.In fact one of the very few unchanged provisions in the policy as it went throughnumerous drafts and redrafts between November 8th to the final iteration onDecember 20 2017 was that the Senior Officer/ Investigating Officer should have 'noprior involvement'.Nor is it credible that the claim that the need for impartiality of an investigatingofficer or equivalent was misunderstood. On the contrary, both James Hynd (10thNovember 2017) offering 3 names at 'arms length' and Judith McKinnon (7thNovember 2017) seeking to engage an 'independent party to investigate' recognisedthis at an early stage.Whether that person came from the broader civil service or outside it is secondary.Perceived freedom from bias is an easily understood concept which is wellestablished in common law and in workplace policy. The appointment of JudithMcKinnon in this light was always wrong and is incomprehensible particularly in the8face of the fact that she has confirmed before this Committee that the nature of herprior contact with the complainants was well known and indeed sanctioned among hercolleagues and line managers.When the fact of it was discovered by the Government's external Counsel (and evenafter the duty of candour was explained to government lawyers by them on November2nd and then by the court on November 6th, both 2018) the attempt was still made inpleadings to present it as 'welfare' contact.The documents which demonstrated this to be false had to be extracted from theGovernment by a Commission and Diligence procedure under the authority of thecourt as granted by Lord Pentland. The documents then produced under thatprocedure emerged despite the Government being willing to certify to the Court thatthese documents simply did not exist. That conduct is outrageous for a Government.At the Commission itself, Senior Counsel for the Government (himself blameless forthe debacle) felt compelled to apologise to the court repeatedly as new batches ofdocuments emerged.It is highly probable that had this documentation not been concealed from the court(and from the Governments own counsel) the falsity of the Government's pleadingswould have been avoided. The fact that even after the Government case collapsed,misinformation then appeared in both a press release from the Permanent Secretaryand the First Minister's statement to Parliament of 8th January 2019 speaks to anorganisation unable and unwilling to admit the truth even after a catastrophic defeat,the terms of which they had conceded to the Court of Session.The interests of the complainantsI also want to make a submission about the claims by the Scottish Government tohave promoted the interests of the women who raised complaints. That is, on theevidence before the Committee, clearly false.The Permanent Secretary claimed to the Committee that the interests of thecomplainants were paramount in the Government thinking. This is very far from thecase.The complainants were brought into the process by conduct 'bordering onencouragement' as it was submitted by my Senior Counsel to Lord Pentland in theJudicial ReviewThe complainants were assured that they would be in control of the process and thatany police involvement would be their choice.This assurance has been stipulated from the earliest origins of the policy (eg NicolaRichards' email to Permanent Secretary of 23 November 2017) and remained in placeuntil the Permanent Secretary countermanded it in her instruction to Ms Richards tosend her decision report to the Crown Agent in August 2018, a move taken against thedirect wishes of the complainants.9They were offered the option of making 'anonymous complaints' for which there isno provision in the policy. However, when it came to actually protecting theanonymity of the complainants through a court order in the Judicial Review inOctober 2018 the Government was not even represented by Counsel in court. It was,in fact, me who instructed Counsel to seek that anonymity on the part of the womenconcerned.The investigation was carried out against the advice of the police who pointed out thatthe Scottish Government were not competent to conduct the investigation. This hasbeen made available to the Committee in the police evidence from the ChiefConstable.The reports to the Crown Office (instead of the police) were made against the expresswishes of both complainants and in direct conflict with the terms of the policy atparagraph 19.The leak of the story to the Daily Record on August 23 2018 was made with noconsideration of the impact on the complainants, impact which the PermanentSecretary described in her evidence as causing considerable distress to allconcerned. That, of course, was in itself in direct contravention of the confidentialityof the process promised to the complainants, and also to me.However, it had been the Permanent Secretary's own intention, despite police adviceto the contrary, to issue a press statement confirming the fact of the complaints onThursday 23 August 2018.This Committee's remit is to examine the actions of those in authority. Accordinglythe conduct of the Permanent Secretary and the civil servants and special advisersinvolved is important. To claim, as the Scottish Government has done, that the wishesand welfare of those who had made complaints were central to the decision making isdemonstrably untrue.The leak to the Daily RecordIn my view, the circumstances of the leak of the details of the complaints to the DailyRecord on 23rd/24th August 2018 should be thoroughly examined. It is highly likelythat the leak came from within the Scottish Government and, in all likelihood, fromone of the Special Advisers to the First Minister. The background facts may assistThe Permanent Secretary instructed her staff to send her Decision Report to theCrown Agent on or about August 21st 2018The Crown Agent, according to the police informed them of the Government'sintention to release a story of the fact of the complaints to the press and the ChiefConstable and another senior officer advised against it and refused to accept a copy ofthe report. We know, therefore, that the desire of the Scottish Government to get thesematters into the public domain is fully supported by evidence.Despite this police advice, two days later the Government informed my legal teamthey intended to release a statement at 5pm on Thursday 23 August 2018. We advised10that we would interdict the statement pending our Judicial Review petition and thestatement was withdrawn. On the strength of that undertaking, we didn't require toseek interdict.We were then informed at around 4pm that the Daily Record newspaper had phonedthe Scottish Government press office with knowledge of the story but had noconfirmation. At 8pm, the Record phoned and then emailed at 8.16pm claimingconfirmation had now been given and broke the story at 10pm. The second story theyprinted on Saturday 23rd August 2018 contained specific details from the complaintsand demonstrates that they also had access to the Permanent Secretary's decisionreport or an extract from it.This leak was (according to the ICO) prima facie criminal, deeply damaging to myinterests and those of the complainants and a direct contravention of the assurances ofconfidentiality given to all. After I formally complained to the ICO, the conclusion ofthe ICO reviewer assessing these facts was that she was 'sympathetic to the thesisthat the leak came from a Government employee'. The only reason no further actioncould be taken was because the specific individual could not be identified withoutpolice investigation. I intend to return to that police complaint when this Committeehas concluded its review. I should say that I am confident that I know the identity ofthose involved in the leak.John Somers, The Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister confirmed that heroffice had received a copy of the Permanent Secretary's report in evidence on 1stDecember 2020. However, that evidence was then corrected to say that it had notbeen received. However, that is difficult to reconcile with the ICO review report(paragraph 4.8) which list the PPS, and therefore The Private Office as one of thestakeholders 'who has access to the internal misconduct investigation report'.It is unlikely that a leak to the Daily Record came from mainstream civil service. Theoverwhelming likelihood is that it came from a Special Adviser to the First Ministerwho had access to the report or an extract from it which was the basis of the DailyRecord story of August 25th 2018.The question of 'conspiracy'It has been a matter of considerable public interest whether there was 'a conspiracy'. Ihave never adopted the term but note that the Cambridge English Dictionary defines itas 'the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.'I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy but am very clear inmy position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious andconcerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government andthe SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned.That includes, for the avoidance of doubt, Peter Murrell (Chief Executive), IanMcCann (Compliance officer) and Sue Ruddick (Chief Operating Officer) of the SNPtogether with Liz Lloyd, the First Minister's Chief of Staff. There are others who, forlegal reasons, I am not allowed to name.11The most obvious and compelling evidence of such conduct is contained within thematerial crown office refuses to release. That decision is frankly disgraceful. Refusingto allow the Committee to see that material both denies me the opportunity to put thefull truth before the Committee and the public, and makes it impossible for theCommittee to complete its task on a full sight of the relevant material. The onlybeneficiaries of that decision to withhold evidence are those involved in conductdesigned to damage (and indeed imprison) me.From a very early stage in the Judicial Review the Government realised that theywere at risk of losing. By October they were told by external counsel that on thebalance of probability they would likely lose. This is the legal advice they havehidden from the Committee in defiance of two parliamentary votes.As the Committee has heard in evidence there were 17 meetings of the Committeeformed to monitor and plan the Scottish Government defence of the Judicial Reviewbetween August 2018 and January 2019. Paul Cackette in his evidence said that therewere daily meetings while Ms Mackinnon suggested three times a week. Despite thisinformation being offered at the evidence session of 1st December no information hasbeen received by the Committee of any of these meetings. I believe there have to besuch emails which show the Lord Advocate's advice on the possibilities of sisting(pausing) the Judicial Review behind the criminal case. The advantage of doing so ina context where the Judicial Review was likely to be lost was clear. Any adversecomment or publicity about the illegality of the Scottish Government actions wouldbe swept away in the publicity of my arrest and subsequent criminal proceedings.It became common knowledge in government, special advisers and the SNP that theJudicial Review was in trouble for the Government and the hope was that policeaction would mean that it never came to court, that the JR would be overtaken by thecriminal investigation.In evidence Ms Allison on 15th September 2020 specifically denied that the ScottishGovernment had any role in contacting potential witnesses or former civil servantsafter the police investigation had started on August 23rd 2018. This is not true.I enclose at appendix 2 a copy of an unsolicited email sent by Ms Allison herself to anex Scottish Government employee on August 27th who then received a furtherunsolicited email from Ms Ruddick of the SNP the following day (appendix 3) Theindividual concerned, who provided a defence statement, had never even been amember of the SNP. I believe her contact details were given to Ms Allison by aGovernment Special Adviser.Another Special Adviser was in contact with the majority of people who thereafterbecame complainants in the criminal trial, shortly after the story being leaked to theDaily Record on August 23rd 2018.In his evidence session of 8 February 2021 Mr Murrell spoke of the letter sent by theFM round all SNP members on 27th August 2018. I pause briefly to note that despitethe email reaching 100,000 members, not one complaint about me was received inresponse. However, what he did not disclose was the email round SNP staff and exstaff members sent by his Chief Operating Officer from late August 2018 (enclosed as12appendix 3). This email was sent selectively. Some staff members were targeted andsent it. Others were not.The recruitment of names to receive this email provoked opposition. Appendix 4shows the refusal of a senior member of the SNP administrative team at Westminsterto supply names to HQ. The staff member expressed the view that she was notprepared to take part in an obvious 'witch-hunt' which would be incompatible withher professional responsibilities as a lawyer. At Appendix 5 I enclose the terms of anaffidavit of the staff member who has agreed to have it shared with the Committee.What is clear is that even at the time of the initial trawl for potentially supportiveindividuals, there was profound disquiet about the ethics and legality of the approach.In addition to advocating the 'pressurising' of the police (those text messages arepublic and before the Committee), Mr Murrell deployed his senior staff to recruit andpersuade staff and ex staff members to submit police complaints. This activity wasbeing co-ordinated with special advisers and was occurring after the policeinvestigation had started and after I ceased to be a member of the SNP. From thedescription of the material released to the Committee under section 23 it is clear thatany supporting evidence establishing this point was not shared with the Committee bythe crown office. Why?It was clear that defeat in the Judicial Review would have severe consequences.Cabinet Ministers thought it should lead to the resignation of the PermanentSecretary. The Special Adviser most associated with the policy believed that her jobwas in jeopardy and accordingly sought to change press releases in light of that. TheFirst Minister's team felt threatened by the process as did the civil service. Thedocumentary evidence shows that special advisers were using civil servants andworking with SNP officials in a fishing expedition to recruit potential complainants.This activity was taking place from late August 2018 to January 2019, after the policeinvestigation had started.The Judicial Review cannot be viewed in isolation. The effect of it, and its likelyresult of a defeat for the Scottish Government led to the need to escalate these mattersto the police, even if that meant doing so entirely against the wishes of the twowomen who had raised concerns. The Permanent Secretary's 'we've lost the battlebut not the war' message of January 8th 2019 to Ms Allison whilst on holiday in theMaldives is not (as she tried to claim) a general appeal for equality but rather showsher knowledge that there were further proceedings to come and her confidence thatthe criminal procedure would render such a loss in the Court of Session irrelevant. Inote in passing, that such language is, in any event, totally incompatible with the roleof a professional civil servant.The Role of the Crown OfficeThe Crown Office has intervened three times to deny this Committee information forwhich it has asked.This has been done by reliance on legislation which was never designed to obstructthe work of a Parliamentary Committee acting in the public interest and investigating13the actions of the Scottish Government. I know this to be true because I was FirstMinister when the legislation was passed in 2010. The true purpose of s. 162 of theCriminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 was to prevent witness statementsfalling into the hands of the accused and being used to intimidate or exert retributionon witnesses and further because of instances of evidence ending up held or disposedof in an insecure fashion. The basis of the legislation was Lord Coulsfield's Report(2007) and the intent was to clarify the legal requirements of disclosure and toestablish practical arrangements to prevent the misuse of disclosure. Thus section 162(and 163) had nothing whatsoever to do with preventing relevant evidence beingpresented to a parliamentary Committee and its misinterpretation as such by theCrown Office is a profoundly disquieting development which strikes at the heart ofthe parliamentary system of accountability.On 17th September 2020 the Crown Office said that our proposal to the Committee toidentify the existence of documents which had not been provided by the Governmentbut which had been disclosed to me in the criminal case would be covered by Section163 of the 2010 Act that 'any person who knowingly uses or discloses information incontravention of section 162 commits an offence'Just in case we did not get the message he repeated the same point on 3 November2020. On 17th December 2020 the Crown's representative went further to blockinformation specifically requested by the Committee 'For you or your client toaccede to the request of the clerk to the Committee would require both the use anddisclosure of said information. As such what is proposed would amount to a clearbreach of section 162 which, by reference to section 163 would amount to a criminaloffence'.He then appears to suggest that the Committee itself would be in danger ofprosecution if we had acceded to the clerk's request.'Further, any person who received such information from you or your client wouldalso be in breach of section 162, and consequently section 163, if they use or disclosethat information. In these circumstances I do not consider what is proposed isacceptable'This is a letter from an unelected official citing legislation passed by this Parliamentfor quite different reasons and using it to deny information to a Committee of electedparliamentarians. Some of the information we intended to provide includedGovernment documents which should have been provided to the Committee in thefirst place. This position is extraordinary and totally unacceptable.Given this attitude to disclosure by the Scottish Government and Crown Office, itbecomes highly surprising that when this Committee exerted section 23 powers torequire documents it was given irrelevant information for which it had not asked andcould never be published while relevant information remained undisclosed. It is alsoclear that Government SPADS were briefing the media on this information beforemembers had even seen it. This is not the behaviour of a prosecution departmentindependent of government influence.14The Lord Advocate said in his evidence on 17th November 2020 that he thought theCommittee has seen this correspondence. As far as I am aware this is not the caseNevertheless, I am happy now to provide that correspondence if the Committee sowishes. In his latest letter of 8th February the Lord Advocate pointedly fails to answerthe specific question from the Committee Convener of 3rd February seekingconfirmation that all Government records had been provided.As was glaringly clear from his evidence and his inability to address the most basic ofquestions, his denial of provision of the legal advice of external counsel, his costlydelay in settling the case, his refusal to confirm what the Committee eventually foundout that both Counsel threatened to resign from the case, the Lord Advocate is deeplycompromised between his twin roles as head of prosecutions and chief governmentlegal adviser.However the matter goes further yet. The Permanent Secretary has confirmed inevidence to the Committee that the referral to the crown office was contrary to theexpress wishes of the complainants. In spite of his protestations that he recusedhimself from anything to do with the criminal investigation. I believe that theCommittee should ask the Lord Advocate directly whether he instructed twounwilling complainants to make police statements.Secondly the Committee has heard of the highly unusual route via the Crown Agentthat the Permanent Secretary ordered her staff, against the wishes of the complainants,to present her report to the Chief Constable. Crown Agent David Harvie's linemanager at that time was Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary.The Crown Office under current leadership is a department simply not fit for purpose.SummaryThe procedure was devised when the Permanent Secretary, as decision maker, hadknowledge of emerging complaints against me. From the outset the PermanentSecretary was compromised and should not have taken on that role.The procedure was unsound not just in its implementation but in its genesis. It wasdevised 'at pace', probably with the purpose of progressing complaints against meand certainly without proper care or regard to its legality or effective consultationwith the unions.The documents disclosed to the Committee demonstrate further serious abuses ofprocess by both the Investigating Officer and the Permanent Secretary.In a further breach of the duty of candour the Government owed to the Court, thosedocuments were not made available at Judicial Review.The Investigating Officer had not just 'prior involvement', but subsequently regularcontact with the complainants of a nature and level which was self-evidentlyinconsistent with that of an impartial official.15The Permanent Secretary who in her own words 'established' the procedure met orspoke to both complainants on multiple occasions (including in mid process) andfailed to disclose this in either the civil or criminal case.The procedure was conceptually flawed and would have collapsed on principle evenif it had been properly implemented. It is a retrospective, hybrid policy, which claimsjurisdiction over private citizens who might have no connection whatsoever with theScottish Government and shows complete confusion between the legitimate roles ofGovernment and political parties.It is demonstrably unfair. It transgresses the most basic principles of natural justice innot even allowing the person complained about the right to prepare their own defence.In addition, the Permanent Secretary denied access to civil servants, witnessstatements or even my diaries until they were pursued in a subject access request.The Government wasaware at a very early stage that they were at significant risk ofdefeat in the Judicial Review, and by October 2018 were advised that, on the balanceof probabilities, they were likely to lose. Nevertheless they kept the clock running andthe public ended up paying over £600,000 as a result.This information on likely defeat in the JR was communicated to key decision makers– the Permanent Secretary, First Minster, the Lord Advocate, the Chief of Staff- inmeetings with external Counsel through October and November 2018.The interests of complainants were disregarded by the Government in refusingmediation initially without consultation, being given no consultation whatsoever onthe possibility of arbitration, being given false assurances on the Governmentaccepting their clear view against reporting matters to the police and then sending thereport to the Crown Office against their express wishes. The Government didn't eveninstruct counsel to attend court for the procedural hearing to address my applicationto guarantee the anonymity of complainants.The Crown Office has blocked key information coming to this Inquiry by wilfullymisinterpreting legislation designed for other purposes.The Lord Advocate is manifestly conflicted in his roles as both Government legaladviser and prosecutor.The advice of the Lord Advocate at one stage included, for example, the option ofsisting (pausing) the Judicial Review to allow a criminal case to overtake the JRproceedings. A consequence of this happening would have been to protect thegovernment from the catastrophic damage arising from losing the judicial review anda finding of unlawful conduct.This prospect provided an incentive and imperative for the recruiting andencouragement of police complaints from others.This was done by the closest advisers to the First Minister and senior SNP officialsactively involving civil servants AFTER the police investigation had started.16The Permanent Secretary ordered her decision report to be sent to the Crown Agent,David Harvie, against the terms of the policy and the wishes of the complainants. Atthat time I understand that she was his line manager.Against police advice the Permanent Secretary decided to press release the fact ofcomplaints on Thursday 21st August 2018. That publication was only prevented bythreat of legal action by my solicitors.A matter of hours later, there was what the ICO assessed as a prima facie criminalleak of information including details of complaints to the Daily Record, in breach ofmy rights of confidentiality, and those of the complainants. Such action was alsocontrary to the express assurances of confidentiality offered to all parties and centralto such workplace issues.The Judicial Review was only conceded when both Counsel threatened to resign fromthe caseThe policy and actions of the Permanent Secretary and the Government were acceptedas and then judged as 'unlawful', 'procedurally unfair' and 'tainted by apparentbias'.The real cost to the Scottish people runs into many millions of pounds and yet no-onein this entire process has uttered the simple words which are necessary on occasionsto renew and refresh democratic institutions - 'I Resign'.The Committee now has the opportunity to address that position.Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond17th February 2021From: Alex SalmondSent: 15 February 2021 03:07To: David McKie ; Duncan HamiltonSubject: APPENDIX 2From:Date: August 27, 2018 at 7:46:13 AM GMT-5To: REDACTEDCc:Subject: PersonalHello (REDACTED)I am not sure if you will remember me. I was Director of People/HR at the time youworked with Scottish Government. I hope that this finds you well.You may be aware that there has been considerable media coverage here over thepast few days in connection with the former First Minister. We are aware that thiscoverage has been quite upsetting for some people and we are keen to support inany way we can.Your name and email address has been provided by a current employee at theScottish Government, noting that you were someone who worked with ScottishGovernment previously and they were keen to ensure that you were offered anysupport you may require.I would be very happy to have a chat by phone or by email and put you in touch withthe various support channels if that would be helpful.Kind regardsBarbaraBARBARA ALLISON,Director, Communications, Ministerial Support and FacilitiesScottish Government.Tel:Sent from my iPadIMPORTANT NOTICE: The information in this email is confidential and is for the use of the addressee only.

. Any disclosure, use or copying of the information in this email other than by the intendedrecipient, is prohibited and would be a breach of confidentiality. If you have received this email in error, please notify the authorby replying to this email or telephoning 0141 307 2311. Levy & McRae has taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that anyemail attachments have been swept for viruses. Accordingly, no liability is accepted for any damage caused as a result of a virus.Please ensure that you carry out appropriate virus checks before opening any attachments. Unless related to the business of thefirm, the opinions expressed within this email are the opinions of the sender and do not necessarily constitute those of Levy &McRae. Levy & McRae is the trading name of Levy & McRae Solicitors LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in Scotland withnumber SO305445. A list of members is open to inspection at our office. Our email system is subject to random recording andmonitoring by us.[Redacted] [Redacted] [Redacted] [Redacted] [Redacted] [Redacted]Appendix 2Please be aware of cyber-crimeWe will not change bank account details during the course of a transaction. If you are due to transfer money to Levy & McRae andhave received an e-mail with the sort code and account details you should call your Levy & McRae contact to corroborate thesedetails. Please use a phone number from our website or terms of engagement letter and not one from the same e-mail as containsthe bank account details. For other advice on protection from cyber-crime, see the action fraud website - www.actionfraud.org.ukAppendix 3Appendix 5  Submission by Alex Salmond – Phase 4 – Ministerial Code1Submission by Alex Salmond – Phase 4 – MinisterialCodeIntroduction1. This is a submission to the Parliamentary Committee under Phase Four ofthe Inquiry. This submission is compliant with all legal obligations under thecommittee's approach to evidence handling and takes full account of the Opinionof Lady Dorrian in the High Court as published on 16th February 2021.All WhatsApp messages between myself and the First Minister referred to in thissubmission, have previously been provided to the Parliamentary Committee bythe First Minister and published by the Committee.The Terms of Reference2. Mr Hamilton, the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, wrote to me on8th September, 29th October, 16th November, 4th and 19th December. I repliedon 6th and 17th October, 23rd November and 23rd December. I finally agreedunder some protest to make a written submission.The reason for my concern was that the remit drawn up for Mr Hamilton focuseson whether the First Minister intervened in a civil service process. As I havepointed out to Mr Hamilton, I know of no provisions in the Ministerial Codewhich makes it improper for a First Minister to so intervene.3. To the contrary, intervention by the First Minister in an apparently unlawfulprocess (subsequently confirmed by the Court of Session) would not constitute abreach precisely because the First Minister is under a duty in clause 2.30 of theMinisterial Code to avoid such illegality on the part of the Government she leads.4. Further, to suggest intervention was a breach would be to ignore andcontradict the express reliance of the procedure on the position of the FirstMinister as the leader of the party to which the former minister was a member inorder to administer some unspecified sanction.5. It will accordingly be a significant surprise if any breach of the MinisterialCode is found when the terms of reference have been tightly drafted by theDeputy First Minister to focus on that aspect of the First Minister's conduct.6. By contrast, I have information which suggests other related breaches of theMinisterial Code which should properly be examined by Mr Hamilton. I have2asked that he undertake that investigation. I have drawn his attention to theapparent parliamentary assurance from the First Minister on 29th October 2020that there was no restriction on Mr Hamilton preventing him from doing so.7. Mr Hamilton has failed to give me a clear response as to whether these relatedmatters relevant to the Ministerial Code, but outwith the specific remit, aregoing to be considered. However, in his letter of 4th December he did indicatethat he was inclined to the view that such matters could be considered and willtake into account arguments for their inclusion. Since that time I understandmembers of the Committee have received further assurances. It is on that basis Imake this submission.8. In doing so, I would note that it does not serve the public interest if theindependent process of examination of the Ministerial Code (which I introducedas First Minister) is predetermined, or seen to be predetermined, by a restrictiveremit given by the Deputy First Minister.9. A restricted investigation would not achieve its purpose of genuineindependent determination and would undermine confidence in what has been auseful innovation in public accountability.10. I would accordingly urge Mr Hamilton to embrace the independence of hisrole and the express assurance given to the Scottish Parliament by the FirstMinister that he is free to expand the original remit drafted by the Deputy FirstMinister and to address each of the matters contained in this submission.Breaches of the Ministerial Code.11. Beyond the terms of the remit set for Mr Hamilton by the Deputy FirstMinister, there are other aspects of the conduct of the First Minister which, in mysubmission, require scrutiny and determination in relation to breaches of theMinisterial Code.12. I was contacted by phone on or around 9 March 2018 and further thefollowing week by Geoff Aberdein, my former Chief of Staff. The purpose of thecontact was to tell me about meetings he had held with the First Minister's Chiefof Staff, Liz Lloyd, at her request.13. In the second of these meetings she had informed him that she was aware oftwo complaints concerning me under a new complaints process introduced toinclude former Ministers. She named one of the complainers to him. At that stageI did not know the identity of the other complainer.14. On receipt of the letter from the Permanent Secretary first informing me ofcomplaints on 7th March 2018 I had secured Levy and McRae as my solicitorsand Duncan Hamilton, Advocate and Ronnie Clancy QC as my counsel.15. Even at this early stage we had identified that there were a range of seriousdeficiencies in the procedure. There was no public or parliamentary record of it3ever being adopted. In addition it contained many aspects of both proceduralunfairness and substantive illegality. There was an obvious and immediatequestion over the respect to which the Scottish Government even hadjurisdiction to consider the complaints. In relation to former Ministers (incontrast to current Ministers) it offered no opportunity for mediation. Thecomplaints procedure of which I was familiar ('Fairness at Work') was based onthe legislative foundation of the Ministerial Code in which the First Minister wasthe final decision maker. I wished to bring all of these matters to the attention ofthe First Minister. I did not know at that stage the degree of knowledge andinvolvement in the policy on the part of both the First Minister and her Chief ofStaff.16. Mr Aberdein had been asked by Ms Lloyd to be her contact with me and theyjointly arranged a meeting with the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament on29th March 2018. This meeting was for the purpose of discussing the complaintsand thereafter arranging a direct meeting between myself and the First Minister.There was never the slightest doubt what the meeting was about. Any suggestionby the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament (Official Report, 8th October2020) that the meeting was 'fleeting or opportunistic' is simply untrue. It wasagreed on the 29th March 2018 at the meeting in the Scottish Parliamentattended by Mr Aberdein and the First Minister and another individual that themeeting between myself and the First Minister would take place on 2nd April ather home near Glasgow. Self-evidently only the First Minister could issue thatinvitation to her private home.17. In attendance at the meeting on 2nd April 2018 were Mr Aberdein, MrHamilton, Ms Lloyd and myself. The First Minister and I met privately and thenthere was a general discussion with all five of us. My purpose was to alert theFirst Minister to the illegality of the process (not being aware at that time of herinvolvement in it) and to seek an intervention from the First Minister to secure amediation process to resolve the complaints.18. I was well aware that under the Ministerial Code the First Minister shouldnotify the civil service of the discussion and believed that this would be the pointat which she would make her views known. The First Minister assured us thatshe would make such an intervention at an appropriate stage.19. On 23rd April 2018, I phoned the First Minister byarrangement on WhatsApp to say that a formal offer of mediation was beingmade via my solicitor to the Permanent Secretary that day. In the event ,this offer was declined by the Permanent Secretary, even before it was put to thecomplainers.20. By the end of May, it was becoming clear that the substantial arguments mylegal team were making in correspondence against the legality of the procedurewere not having any impact with the Permanent Secretary. My legal teamadvised that it was impossible properly to defend myself against the complaintsunder such a flawed procedure. They advised that a petition for Judicial Reviewwould have excellent prospects of success given the Government were acting4unlawfully. However I was extremely reluctant to sue the Government I once led.I wanted to avoid the damage both to the Scottish Government and the SNPwhich would inevitably result. To avoid such a drastic step, I resolved to let theFirst Minister see the draft petition for Judicial Review. As a lawyer, and as FirstMinister, I assumed that she would see the legal jeopardy into which thegovernment was drifting. I therefore sought a further meeting.21. On 1st June 2018 the First Minister sent me a message which was theopposite of the assurance she had given on the 2nd April 2018 suggestinginstead that she had always said that intervention was 'not the right thing to do'.That was both untrue and disturbing. On 3rd June 2018 I sent her a message onthe implications for the Government in losing a Judicial Review and pointing toher obligation (under the Ministerial Code) to ensure that her administrationwas acting lawfully and (under the Scotland Act) to ensure that their actionswere compliant with the European Convention.22. The First Minister and I met in Aberdeen on 7th June 2018 when I askedher to look at the draft Judicial Review Petition. She did briefly but made it clearshe was now disinclined to make any intervention.23. My desire to avoid damaging and expensive litigation remained. My legalteam thereafter offered arbitration as an alternative to putting the matter beforethe Court of Session. That proposal was designed to offer a quick and relativelyinexpensive means of demonstrating the illegality of the procedure in a processwhich guaranteed the confidentiality of the complainers. It would also havedemonstrated the illegality of the process in a forum which would be much lessdamaging to the Scottish Government than the subsequent public declaration ofillegality. I was prepared at that time to engage fully with the procedure in theevent my legal advice was incorrect. In the event, of course, it was robust. Iexplained the advantages of such an approach to the First Minister ina Whatsapp message of 5th July 2018.24. At the First Minister's initiative which I was informed about on the 13th Julywe met once again at her home in Glasgow at her request, the following day, 14thJuly 2018. There was no one else at this meeting. She specifically agreed tocorrect the impression that had been suggested to my counsel in discussionbetween our legal representatives that she was opposed to arbitration. Ifollowed this up with a WhatsApp message on the 16th July 2018.25. On 18th July 2018 the First Minister phoned me at 13.05 to say thatarbitration had been rejected and suggested that this was on the advice of theLaw Officers. She urged me to submit a substantive rebuttal of the specificcomplaints against me, suggested that the general complaints already answeredwere of little consequence and would be dismissed, and then assured me that mysubmission would be judged fairly. She told me I would receive a letter from thePermanent Secretary offering me further time to submit such a rebuttalwhich duly arrived later that day. As it turned out the rebuttal once submittedwas given only cursory examination by the Investigating Officer in the course ofa single day and she had already submitted her final report to the Permanent5Secretary. My view is now that it was believed that my submission of a rebuttalwould weaken the case for Judicial Review (my involvement in rebutting thesubstance of the complaints being seen to cure the procedural unfairness) andthat the First Ministers phone call of 18th July 2018 and the PermanentSecretary's letter of the same date suggesting that it was in my 'interests' tosubmit a substantive response was designed to achieve that.26. In terms of the meetings with me, the only breaches of the Ministerial Codeare the failure to inform civil servants timeously of the nature of the meetings.27. My view is that the First Minister should have informed the PermanentSecretary of the legal risks they were running and ensured a proper examinationof the legal position and satisfied herself that her Government were actinglawfully.28. Further once the Judicial Review had commenced, and at the very latest byOctober 31st 2018 the Government and the First Minister knew of legal advicefrom external counsel (the First Minister consulted with counsel on 13thNovember) that on the balance of probability they would lose the Judicial Reviewand be found to have acted unlawfully. Despite this the legal action wascontinued until early January 2019 and was only conceded after bothGovernment external counsel threatened to resign from the case which theyconsidered to be unstateable. This, on any reading, is contrary to section 2.30 ofthe Ministerial Code.29. Most seriously, Parliament has been repeatedly misled on a number ofoccasions about the nature of the meeting of 2nd April 2018.30. The First Minister told Parliament (see Official Report of 8th,10th & 17thJanuary 2019) that she first learned of the complaints against me when I visitedher home on 2nd April 2018. That is untrue and is a breach of the MinisterialCode.The evidence from Mr Aberdein that he personally discussed the existence of thecomplaints, and summarised the substance of the complaints, with the FirstMinister in a pre arranged meeting in Parliament on 29th March 2018 arrangedfor that specific purpose cannot be reconciled with the position of the FirstMinister to Parliament. The fact that Mr Aberdein learned of these complaints inearly March 2018 from the Chief of Staff to the First Minister who thereafterarranged for the meeting between Mr Aberdein and the First Minister on 29thMarch to discuss them, is supported by his sharing that informationcontemporaneously with myself, Kevin Pringle and Duncan Hamilton, Advocate.31. In her written submission to the Committee, the First Minister hassubsequently admitted to that meeting on 29th March 2018, claiming to havepreviously 'forgotten' about it. That is, with respect, untenable. The pre-arrangedmeeting in the Scottish Parliament of 29th March 2018 was 'forgotten' aboutbecause acknowledging it would have rendered ridiculous the claim made by theFirst Minister in Parliament that it had been believed that the meeting on 2nd6April was on SNP Party business (Official Report 8th & 10th January 2019) andthus held at her private residence. In reality all participants in that meeting werefully aware of what the meeting was about and why it had been arranged. Themeeting took place with a shared understanding of the issues for discussion -the complaints made and the Scottish Government procedure which had beenlaunched. The First Minister's claim that it was ever thought to be aboutanything other than the complaints made against me is wholly false.The failure to account for the meeting on 29th March 2018 when making astatement to Parliament, and thereafter failing to correct that falserepresentation is a further breach of the Ministerial Code.Further, the repeated representation to the Parliament of the meeting on the 2ndApril 2018 as being a 'party' meeting because it proceeded in ignorance of thecomplaints is false and manifestly untrue. The meeting on 2nd April 2018 wasarranged as a direct consequence of the prior meeting about the complaints heldin the Scottish Parliament on 29th March 2018.32. The First Minister additionally informed Parliament (Official Report 10thJanuary 2019) that 'I did not know how the Scottish Government was dealingwith the complaint, I did not know how the Scottish Government intended todeal with the complaint and I did not make any effort to find out how the ScottishGovernment was dealing with the complaint or to intervene in how the ScottishGovernment was dealing with the complaint.'I would contrast that position with the factual position at paragraphs 18 and 25above. The First Minister's position on this is simply untrue. She did initiallyoffer to intervene, in the presence of all those at the First Ministers house on the2nd April 2018. Moreover, she did engage in following the process of thecomplaint and indeed reported the status of that process to me personally.33. I also believe it should be investigated further in terms of the MinisterialCode, whether the criminal leak of part of the contents of the PermanentSecretary's Decision report to the Daily Record was sourced from the FirstMinister's Office. We now know from a statement made by the Daily Recordeditor that they received a document. I enclose at Appendix B the summary ofthe ICO review of the complaint which explains the criminal nature of the leakand the identification of 23 possible staff sources of the leak given that the ICOProsecutor has 'sympathy with the hypothesis that the leak came from anemployee of the Scottish Government'. My reasoning is as follows. The leak didnot come from me, or anyone representing me. In fact I sought interdict toprevent publication and damage to my reputation. The leak is very unlikelyindeed to have come from either of the two complainers. The Chief Constable,correctly, refused to accept a copy of the report when it was offered to PoliceScotland on August 21st 2018 by the Crown Agent. It cannot, therefore haveleaked from Police Scotland. Scottish Government officials had not leaked thefact of an investigation from January when it started. The only additional groupof people to have received such a document, or summary of such a document, inthe week prior to publication in the Daily Record was the First Minister's Office7as indicated in paragraph 4.8 of the ICO Prosecutor's Report. In that office,the document would be accessed by the First Minister and her Special Advisers.I would be happy to support this submission in oral evidence.Rt Hon Alex Salmond17th February 2021Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AFT. 0303 123 1113 F. 01625 524510www.ico.org.ukOur ref: CH/IC/0295/2018Mr David McKieLevy & McRaePacific House70 Wellington StreetGlasgowG2 GUABy email only:Dated 28 May 2020Dear Mr McKieRe: Your Client – Mr A. Salmond/ Your Ref DMK/LL/STE039-00011. Introduction1.1 Further to a request made on behalf of your above client, I have beenasked to review a decision made by the Criminal Investigations Team(CRIT) at the ICO to discontinue an investigation into potential offencesunder s.170 Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, in accordance with theVictims Right to Review scheme.1.2 I am a Solicitor (Prosecutor) based within the Regulatory EnforcementTeam at the ICO. I confirm that I have had no previous dealings withthe matter.1.3 My remit is to consider whether, having investigated the complaint, thedecision made by the investigations team to not investigate further wascorrect and reasonable.[Redacted]Appendix B1.4 I have had full access to, and have carefully reviewed, all materialgathered and held by CRIT during the course of their investigations.1.5 The review concerns the outcome of an investigation into a complaintmade under s.165 DPA 2018 on behalf of Mr Salmond to the ICO onthe 29 October 2018.1.6 The complaint pertained to the suspected unlawful obtaining anddisclosing of personal data relating to Mr Salmon to the press in August2018; a potential offence under s.170 DPA 2018.1.7 The data was contained within a report relating to the outcome of aninternal misconduct investigation, which was leaked to the press on the23 August 2018 and published in the Daily Record on 23 and 25 August2018.1.8 Furthermore, the fact and content of legal advice from the LordAdvocate to the Scottish Government regarding the allegations madeagainst Mr Salmond were reported in an article in The Sunday Postpublished on the 26th August 2018 and again in The Herald on 12November 2018.2. Relevant Law2.1 Under s.170 DPA 2018, it is an offence to, knowingly or recklessly,obtain, disclose, procure disclosure or retain personal data without theconsent of the data controller.2.2 The information contained in the internal misconduct report and thelegal advice was highly sensitive and personal, in that it related toallegations of misconduct made against Mr Salmond. It would certainlymeet the definition of 'personal data' pertaining to a living individual asper s.3(2) DPA 2018.2.3 It was clear from the events set out in the complaint sent on behalf ofMr Salmond that the personal data had indeed been obtained anddisclosed to the press.2.4 The ensuing investigation by the ICO was to establish whether anyindividual could be identified and potentially prosecuted for the unlawfulobtaining and/or disclosing of the data under s.170 DPA 2018.2.5 The offence of unlawfully obtaining and/or disclosing personal datacontrary to s.170 DPA 2018 is an offence committed against the datacontroller. In this matter, the personal data contained in the internalmisconduct investigation report and in legal advice from the LordAdvocate, belonged to the Scottish Government (SG).2.6 The SG was therefore the data controller in accordance with s.3(6) DPA2018 and the potential complainant in this matter.2.7 As the data subject under s.3(5) DPA 2018, Mr Salmond wouldhowever also be classed as a 'victim'. Any impact on him resulting fromthe offence would of course therefore be an important consideration inascertaining the level of harm caused by the offence.2.8 The issue for the investigations team was whether the source of thedata leak could be identified, to enable a prosecution to be broughtagainst the individual responsible under s.170 DPA 2018.3. Review of the evidence3.1 In order to identify a suspect, it would be necessary to identifythe method of disclosure used.3.2 A forensic examination of the IT systems used by the SG was carried outas part of the Data Handling Review conducted by the Data ProtectionOfficer at the SG following the data leak.3.3 No evidence was found that data was leaked through email, documentsharing or downloading to portable media device. Furthermore, noevidence was found that a third party had unlawfully accessed the SG'sIT systems.3.4 Without an electronic trail to follow, it was difficult to uncover themethod of disclosure used.3.5 To progress the investigation, a witness would be needed whowould be willing to provide information about the method of disclosure(for example, by hard copy being passed in person) and the identity ofthe culprit.3.6 The Daily Record had declined to provide information as to how or bywhom they came by the copy of the report, relying on the journalisticexemption within the DPA 2018, clause 14 of the Editors Code ofPractice and s.10 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.3.7 23 members of staff were identified as having knowledge of, orinvolvement in, the internal misconduct enquiry. These members ofstaff were interviewed by the Data Protection Officer at the SG as partof their Data Handling Review. The interviews did not disclose anyinformation which would enable a suspect to be identified.3.8 In the absence therefore of any further information coming to light, orany witness coming forward, there was insufficient evidence to point toany specific suspect and to allow the investigation to move forward.4. Representations on behalf of Mr Salmond4.1 In addition to all the material provided by the SG, I have alsoconsidered the representations made on behalf of MrSalmond in previous correspondence with Levy & McRae, in particularthe submission that the timing of the leak to the press raises anirresistible conclusion that the leak came from within the SG.4.2 The leak came a few hours after the SG had notified their intention topublish a press release and very shortly after Levy & McRae had givennotice of their intention to apply for an interim interdict. The effect ofthe leak was to defeat the court action because the information was bythen in the public domain.4.3 I have also considered the statement of Detective Chief Superintendent, helpfully provided by Levy & McRae. The statementconfirms that at a meeting on the 21 August 2018, the police wereoffered a copy of the internal misconduct investigation report butrefused to take it. Furthermore, at that meeting, DCS voiced[Redacted][Redacted]concerns about the SG making a public statement about the outcome oftheir investigations.4.4 Levy & McRae point to this statement to show that the SG (or anemployee thereof) wanted the information to get into the public domainand to show that the police are highly unlikely to have been the sourceof the leak.4.5 The SG sent a proposed press release to Levy & McRae on the 23August. In response, Levy & McRae notified the SG of their intention toapply for an interim interdict. The SG responded by confirming thatthey would not issue the press release in the meantime. Events werethen of course overtaken by the leak of the information to the press andinto the public domain.4.6 I have sympathy with the hypothesis that the leak came from anemployee of the SG and agree that the timing arguably could raise suchan inference. It was still necessary to identify a suspect.4.7 The interviews with the relevant staff members didn't provide any leadshowever and no other person had come forward volunteeringinformation.4.8 There remains the possibility that the leak came from elsewhere. Thelist of stakeholders who had access to the internal misconductinvestigation report includes the original complainants, the QC, the FirstMinister's Principal Private Secretary, the Crown Office & ProcuratorFiscal Service and Mr Salmond and Levy & McRae, as well as therelevant staff members of the SG.4.9 The list of stakeholders who had access to the legal advice provided bythe Lord Advocate during the misconduct investigation included staffwithin the Lord Advocate's office, the Permanent Secretary's Office andofficials in the SG's Legal Directorate.4.10 Following investigation, there was no evidence to identify any specificindividual within these lists, or any member of staff working for anybodywithin these lists, as a potential suspect.5. Review of decision by CRIT5.1 As investigators, CRIT must have regard to the provisions of theCriminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996, specificallys.23(1) Code of Practice Part II.5.2 Point 3.5 provides that the investigator shall pursue all reasonable linesof inquiry. CRIT have a duty therefore to investigate data complaints toan appropriate extent.5.3 During this investigation, it is clear that CRIT gathered extensiveinformation from the SG, seeking further information and clarificationwhere needed.5.4 The result was no suspect could be identified from the evidence collatedand the decision was taken that the investigation could not beprogressed without further information coming to light.5.5 I am satisfied that the complaint had been investigated to anappropriate extent, with all reasonable avenues of inquiry consideredand/or pursued.5.6 When deciding whether to proceed to prosecute in any case, I amrequired to apply the two stage test prescribed by the Code for CrownProsecutors issued by the Crown Prosecution Service.5.7 The first stage is to consider whether there is sufficient evidence toprovide a realistic prospect of conviction. Without a suspect, there issimply no realistic prospect of conviction because there is nobody toprosecute and/or convict. I do not therefore even reach the secondstage of the test, which is to consider whether it would be in the publicinterest to prosecute.5.8 I am satisfied that in the absence of any suspect, the decision todiscontinue the investigation was correct and reasonable in all thecircumstances.5.9 If further information comes to light, for example if a witness comesforward, then I have no doubt that the matter would be properlyrevisited. At the present time, however, I am satisfied that there are nogrounds to re-instate the investigation.Yours sincerely,Solicitor (Prosecutor)[Redacted]James HamiltonIndependent Adviser on the Scottish Ministerial Codec/o E:Alex Salmond,c/o Levy & McRaePacific House70 Wellington StGlasgowG26UA8 September 2020Dear Mr Salmond,SCOTTISH MINISTERIAL CODE: FIRST MINISTER'S SELF-REFERRALAs you may know, I have been appointed as the independent adviser to consider the FirstMinister's self-referral under the Ministerial Code. I attach a copy of the Parliamentaryanswer which sets out the remit for the referral.My purpose in writing is to seek your cooperation in my enquiries, and to request from you arange of information to assist me in preparing my report.I would be grateful if you would supply me with a general statement about your actions andinvolvement in the matters covered by my remit.This should include, but not be limited to: an indication of what were the intentions that laybehind your actions and, in particular, the series of contacts that you had with the FirstMinister; and, any other information that would assist me in my considerations.In addition to a general statement, I would welcome your response to a series of specificquestions as follows:1. Details of all contacts you, or anyone representing you, had with the First Minister or anycivil servant or special advisor between 16 January 2018, when the first complaint wasmade under the Scottish Government's Procedure for the Handling of HarassmentComplaints involving Current or Former Ministers, and 18 July 2018, when a secondtelephone conversation took place, which, according to the First Minister, was the lastcontact between the First Minister and yourself. Could you also provide details of thepurpose of your communication with the First Minister?[Redacted]Appendix CEMAIL EXCHANGES BETWEEN MR ALEX SALMOND ANDMR JAMES HAMILTON1. Mr Salmond to Mr Hamilton31st December 2020DearCorrespondence for Mr HamiltonPlease see attached correspondence, submission and twoappendices for the attention of Mr James Hamilton. Pleaseconfirm receipt and thank you for your assistance.Best wishes for 2021Yours for ScotlandAlex Salmond2. Mr Hamilton to Mr Salmond19th December 2020Dear Mr. Salmond,Further to my letter of 7 December 2020, I repeat my enquirywhether you are prepared to provide a written statement to helpme with my investigation. It would be very helpful to have awritten statement from you, with as much information as youfeel able to provide, setting out your responses to the questionsincluded in previous correspondence.[Redacted]Appendix DAs you are aware the Ministerial Code provides that the FirstMinister may refer matters to the independent advisers toprovide her with advice on which to base her judgment aboutany action required in respect of Ministerial conduct. The FirstMinister has made such a referral to me on foot of which I havesought written statements from all the persons whom I haveidentified as likely to have evidence relevant to that remit. Ihave now received written statements from every person whomI have so identified except you.As you are also aware I have no power to compel any person tocooperate with me. That being so I must formulate my adviceon the evidence and information which is available to me. I alsoconsider that the First Minister is entitled to expect that I will doso in a reasonably expeditious manner.I therefore now intend to complete my consideration of writtenstatements as soon as possible. In order for any statement fromyou to form part of that consideration I will need to receive itwithout delay. If you do intend to make a statement I wouldappreciate it if you could let me know when I might expect toreceive it, otherwise I shall assume that you have decided notto become involved in this process.Yours sincerely,James Hamilton3. Mr Hamilton to Mr SalmondDated 4th December 2020 but emailed on 7th December2020Dear Mr. SalmondThank you for your letter of 23 November sent via email to.I consider it necessary in order for me to fulfil my remit that Iobtain a full understanding of what was the purpose of themeetings between you and the First Minister and what occurredat them. Your evidence is therefore of great importance to me.I am prepared to consider any arguments you may wish toadvance about the scope of my remit. However, until I knowwhat evidence you wish to give it would be premature for me toform a decided opinion on whether the remit should beextended or, in the event that I accepted the case for anextension, on how I should then proceed.My inclination is to think that in the case of matters which formpart of, or are closely related to, the subject matter of the remit itcould be open to me to consider whether any provisions of theMinisterial Code other than those mentioned expressly in theremit had been broken. However, that situation is distinct frombroadening the factual scope of the inquiry. I am, of course,prepared to consider any arguments you may wish to makebefore coming to a final conclusion on this point.Although the procedure for an inquiry by an independentadvisor under the Ministerial Code is a relatively informal onethe rules of natural justice apply including in particular myobligation to hear both sides of any question which arises fordetermination. This, in my opinion, extends not only to the[Redacted]consideration of evidence but also to any questions which mayarise as to the scope of the remit.It follows that if a question arises as to whether a particularmatter can be regarded as falling within the scope of the remitor, if it does not, whether that scope ought to be expanded, itwould be wrong of me to take a decided view on those issuesbased solely on your submissions without also giving the FirstMinister an opportunity to comment on them.I would therefore suggest that you let me see your proposedevidence as soon as possible, together with any observationsyou may wish to make about the scope of the remit. Ifnecessary I will then seek the First Minister's observationsbefore I decide how I should deal with the matter.Finally, with regard to your suggestion that there was a 'criminalleak' to a newspaper I have no function to investigate crimeswhich should be reported to the proper authorities.Yours sincerely,James Hamilton4. Mr Salmond to Mr Hamilton23rd November 2020Dear Mr HamiltonThank you for your letter of 29th October. I apologise for thedelay in replying, but I had assumed that it had crossed with theexchange in the Scottish Parliament, detailed below, of thatsame date. To that end, I was awaiting a follow up letter fromyou, confirming that indeed your remit was not 'limited to oneaspect of the Ministerial Code';• Oliver Mundell (Dumfriesshire) (Con): Will the FirstMinister agree to expand the ministerial code investigationto include her statements to Parliament and her actions onthe legal advice regarding the judicial review into AlexSalmond's alleged behaviour?• The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon): My view right nowis that James Hamilton, who is the adviser undertaking theinvestigation into the ministerial code, is not restricted at allin the issues that he can look at. If he thinks that there areany issues that engage the ministerial code or could in anyway constitute a breach of the ministerial code, my view isthat he is free to look at them. If he considers that thatrequires any change to his official remit, I am sure that heis perfectly able to say that. However, for the record and tobe clear, I do not consider his remit to be limited to just oneaspect of the ministerial code.You will have noted that this parliamentary exchange seems atodds with your letter, which suggests that you are restricted toanswering the 'questions asked in the referral'. You state;'As you are aware the remit of the referral was set out by theDeputy First Minister in a PQ response to the ScottishParliament made on 6 August 2020. Considering that theprincipal matter I am asked to consider concerns an allegedbreach of the Ministerial Code in the First Minister's failure torecord contacts with you it seems entirely logical to ask thequestion whether the First Minister was in fact involved in anyway in the Scottish Government investigation. In seeking toanswer the questions asked in the referral I will of course haveto consider any relevant surrounding circumstances.'As detailed in my previous letter, I know of no aspect of theMinisterial Code which prevents a First Minister intervening in aprocess, not least one which was found by the Court of Sessionto be 'unlawful', and as one consequence of which saidprocess is currently being examined by the SGHHC Committeeof the Scottish Parliament.As I understand it, not intervening to ensure Government is notacting unlawfully when there is a danger that this might be thecase, could be considered a breach in terms of the MinisterialCode. Non-intervention in this matter is relevant to the periodcovering spring and summer of 2018, and in the autumn, thisextended to agreeing with or permitting the PermanentSecretary to disregard external legal advice on theGovernment's prospects of success in the Judicial Review.This was further compounded by Parliamentary statements onrepeated occasions, which have been questioned by MSPs asmisleading, most pertinently in relation to the timing of when theFirst Minister first knew of the investigation and the explanationthat the 2nd April meeting was held in the First Minister's privatehome because she thought it was a matter of party business.There is, of course, the further question of the criminal leak ofprotected information to the Daily Record newspaper on23/24th August 2018 and what, if anything, was the FirstMinster's state of awareness of the circumstances and thepotential involvement of her staff in same.When I established the independent procedure for referral ofpurported First Ministerial breaches of the Ministerial Code, itwas an innovation and one carried through in good faith. Iappointed people of outstanding calibre, such as yourself asindependent advisors, so that no-one could suggest that anyreferrals were being 'fixed' either by the civil service or theGovernment.It would be disappointing if this is now being done by theDeputy First Minister, by virtue of confining your terms ofreferral.I look forward to your confirmation that your remit is not 'limitedto just one aspect of the Ministerial code'. On that basis I willsubmit the evidence for which you have asked.Two final matters.Firstly, I enclose the letter from the Crown Office which yourequested. As you will note, it threatens prosecution if I were toreveal to the Parliamentary Committee (and presumably toyourself) documents which were disclosed in the course of thecriminal case.Secondly, I confirm that the record of Whatapp messagesbetween the First Minster and myself from 5 November 2017 to20 July 2018 supplied to the Parliamentary Committee by theFirst Minister and published on their website is correct. There ishowever, one exception.I look forward to hearing from youYours sincerelyRt Hon Alex Salmond[Redacted]5. Mr Hamilton to Mr SalmondDated 29th October 2020 but emailed on 16th November202029 October 2020Dear Mr. Salmond,As I set out in my letter dated 29 October, I am in the process ofconsidering written submissions in relation to the mattersreferred to me by the First Minister as independent adviser inrelation to the Ministerial Code and considering what additionalinformation I may need to gather. I have now received writtensubmissions from all the principal persons whom I believe mayhave relevant evidence except for you.I would hope to be able to consider any written submission youmight wish to provide as part of that process. It would thereforebe helpful to me if you could indicate whether you intend toprovide a written submission and if so when it might beavailable.Yours sincerely,James Hamilton6. Mr Hamilton to Mr Salmond29th October 2020Dear Mr. Salmond,Thank you for your emails of 6th October and 17th Octoberasking various clarification questions about the work I amundertaking. I apologize for the delay in acknowledging yourfirst email, and for the delay in providing a substantiveresponse. Your correspondence raised a number of significantquestions which I wanted to give full consideration to.Regarding the first point, I note what you say aboutrepresenting yourself. I will, of course, have no control overwhat you put in your submissions. I can confirm that I will do mybest to ensure that nothing in my report will be in breach of anyapplicable court orders.In relation to your second point, thank you for drawing myattention to the two court interlocutors attached to your letter. Iwill have regard to these when conducting my investigation. Iwould indeed appreciate receiving a copy of the letter from theCrown Office which you refer to. Again, as I have just stated, Iwill do my best to ensure that nothing in my report will be inbreach of any applicable court orders.On the third point, as you will know, James Hynd's role as headof Cabinet Secretariat includes supporting Ministers in mattersrelating to the Ministerial Code. On that basis, Mr. Hyndsupported the Deputy First Minister in establishing the referral Ihave been asked to undertake.Mr. Hynd has stepped away from the process andhas been appointed as Head of Secretariat Support tosupport my work as I require. I can confirm therefore thatJames Hynd will not play any role in relation to the day to dayconduct of the inquiry or in the finalisation of my report and anyrecommendations that I may make.I note your comment concerning my remit. As you are aware theremit of the referral was set out by the Deputy First Minister in aPQ response to the Scottish Parliament made on 6 August2020. Considering that the principal matter I am asked to[Redacted][Redacted]consider concerns an alleged breach of the Ministerial Code inthe First Minister's failure to record contacts with you it seemsentirely logical to ask the question whether the First Ministerwas in fact involved in any way in the Scottish Governmentinvestigation. In seeking to answer the questions asked in thereferral I will of course have to consider any relevantsurrounding circumstances.In relation to the issues raised in your second email, I canconfirm that any response to my enquiries relating to the factualmatters I am asked to enquire into will be used in thecompilation of the report. I have not yet decided fully on theformat of the report but any reply to such enquiries will be liableto be published with the exception of material which cannot bemade public as a result of court orders or for other legalreasons.I have set out various matters relevant to your questions in myrecent correspondence with the Parliamentary committee.https://www.parliament.scot/HarassmentComplaintsCommittee/James Hamilton.pdfWith regard to incidental queries it would not be my intention topublish them as a matter of routine and it would be mypreferred option to make no comment pending the completionof my enquiries. However, I am concerned not to favour or beperceived to favour any particular interested party in the matterand therefore if I were asked questions concerning contactsbetween interested parties and me I might well think it proper ornecessary in the public interest and in particular in the interestsof transparency to give a full reply.For that reason I cannot exclude the possibility that anycorrespondence between us might at some stage be published.I hope this answers your questions.As you know, I am currently in the process of consideringwritten submissions and what additional information I may needto gather. It would be helpful if you were able to indicate whenyou would be able to offer a written submission.James Hamilton7. Mr Salmond to Mr Hamilton17th October 2020Mr James HamiltonIndependent Adviser on The Scottish Ministerial Code.17th October 2020Dear Mr HamiltonFurther to my letter of 8th October I await an answer to thequestions posed or an acknowledgement of the email. Couldyou ask your staff to provide this?I am now in receipt of several press queries on whether I havebeen in communication with you. My practice with theParliamentary Committee has been to 'no comment' but drawattention to the publication of correspondence. However, I doubtthat it is your intention to publish correspondence and thereforeI would wish your guidance on how to reply to these questions.On which subject I enclose a letter which my lawyers sent to theParliamentary Committee on 14th October, which is clearlyrelevant to your remit, however it be defined.Yours sincerelyThe Rt Hon Alex SalmondAppendix 1DearWhatsApp Messages between Mr Salmond and First MinisterThank you for your email of 13th October.These are the additional messages we referred to in our letterof 27th November which were omitted from the First Minster'searlier submission. Apparently as a consequence of ourinforming the Committee of this omission, the First Minister hasalready read them out on live Sky News television in aninterview with Sophy Ridge on October 11th without seekingour client's permission to release his data. In thesecircumstances he considers that it would be perverse for him toobject to them being seen and published by your Committee.However, we make the assumption that you only intend topublish material relevant to the Committee's remit.The message of 5th November 2017 is the First Ministerinitiating contact over a Sky News press inquiry while themessage on 6th November was the First Minister wishing tospeak further after an approach on the same subject from the[Redacted]Permanent Secretary. These are at least arguably relevant tothe Inquiry and he is content that they are published.The first two messages of 9th November concern the FirstMinister's objections to the launch of our clients TV Show thatday on RT (as confirmed by her on Sky News) and aretherefore not relevant to your enquiry and should not bepublished.However the third message of 9th November beginning 'Ps' isa direct reference to her earlier messages of 5th November andshould be published.Our client's message to the First Minister of 10th November is acontinuation of our client's disagreement with the First Ministerover the television show and a reference to the then bid for theScotsman newspaper. As such it should not be published.In addition, in our letter of 27th September we raised thequestion of the reasons for the redaction of the name of theperson who had relayed the message from the First Ministerthat she wished to meet our client for a third time on this issue.You explained that it was the First Minister had redacted thisinformation from our client's message of 13th July 2018 at11.01am.Since it was our client's message, we are aware of no legalreason for this redaction; it seems highly relevant to yourdeliberations and our client is content to see the messagepublished in full. Can you please clarify the reason for redactionwith the Scottish Government? Our client is content to provide acopy of the unredacted message.However, we will leave the final decision on publication to yourCommittee. However we would ask that this information isshared with Committee members.As we previously noted for completeness our client has arecord of a missed call from the First Minister to our client at13.05 on the 18th July.Our client hopes that this is helpful.Yours sincerelyDavid McKiePartner8. Mr Salmond to Mr Hamilton6th October 2020Mr James HamiltonIndependent Adviser on the Scottish Ministerial Code6th October 2020Dear Mr Hamilton,Thank you for your letter of 8th September.I do indeed have information which will be of assistance to yourenquiries and am happy to assist you if I can.However I would like to accept your offer of clarification on yourrequest and ask first for answers to the following points;Firstly, I am prepared to represent myself in presenting you withevidence. I am a private individual and simply cannot afford tohire further legal representation as my lawyers are fullyoccupied dealing with the Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry. Vastsums of public funds have already been expended by ScottishGovernment officials in legal representation in this process. Iam also informed that other witnesses are relying on theirpolitical party to finance their legal representation. I willrepresent myself and am therefore in no position to acceptresponsibility as to whether my submissions are in line withlegal requirements as you suggest in your letter. That willrequire to be your responsibility and I will be grateful if youcould now confirm this.Secondly, on a related point, the remit drawn by the DeputyFirst Minister refers to the anonymity orders drawn up by the'court in the criminal proceedings'. I would draw your attentionto the rather more relevant ruling of Lord Woolman in the civilproceedings of 8th October 2018. This was sought by mycounsel and as I recall the Scottish Government were not evenrepresented by counsel at that hearing. Also relevant would bethe interlocutor of Lord Pentland of January 8th 2019 afterconcession of the Judicial Review, where certain ScottishGovernment documents were reduced by the Court as theproduct of an unlawful process. For ease of reference I havecopied you both of these court interlocutors. Please confirm thatyou shall not be relying on, or accepting into evidence, saidunlawful documents as any part of your enquiries.You may also be aware that my solicitors have been informedby letter from the Crown Office that if they present or evendescribe to the Parliamentary Committee information gained indisclosure in the criminal proceedings they will be liable toprosecution. I am happy to provide you with this letter if youwish. Please confirm if this threat applies to your enquirybecause there are indeed relevant documents under thisrestriction. However, given that much of this documentation wasobtained by Crown search warrant from the ScottishGovernment it would be open for the Government to supply youwith it. Your difficulty is that you do not know what it is and I amcurrently debarred from informing you.Thirdly, I understand from the Parliamentary Committeehearings in answer to a question from Ms Jackie Baillie that thecivil servant who has been allocated responsibility for leadingsupport for your enquiry is Mr James Hynd. However Mr Hyndwas himself deeply involved in the Scottish Government'sunlawful complaints procedure. Indeed he claimed under oathat both the Commission which was required as part of theJudicial Review in December 2018 and in front of theParliamentary Committee last month to be the original author ofthe policy. I do not dispute Mr Hynd's personal integrity althoughI note he was forced to write to the Committee to correct animpression he had unwittingly given about me in his evidence.However, please clarify his status and position in your enquirygiven his prior involvement in this matter.Fourthly, the remit given to your investigation by the DeputyFirst Minister lays a surprising stress on whether she interferedin the Scottish Government investigation. It might even besuspected that this remit has been set up as a straw man toknock down. There is no general bar on Ministers intervening ina civil service process of which I am aware and indeed thereare occasions when Ministers are actually required by the codeto intervene to correct civil service behaviour.What I wish to know is whether matters which, by contrast, arespecified in the Ministerial code such as the primaryresponsibility of not misleading Parliament (contrary to 1.3 (c) ofthe code), such as the failure to act on legal advice suggestingthe Government was at risk of behaving unlawful (contrary to2.30 of the code), and such as the Ministerial failure to ensurecivil servants gave truthful information to parliament (contrary to1.3 (e) of the code) will have at least equal status in yourdeliberations or are you confined to the political remit which youhave been set? If your enquiry has been confined by Ministersthen please tell me if you have the authority to expand thatremit unilaterally? If not, will you seek the authority of those inthe Scottish Government who set the remit to expand it intothese, and other, areas?Finally since the Parliamentary Committee has demanded fulltransparency and expressed an interest in your deliberations Ihave copied them into this email.As I am answering your enquires personally please direct allfuture correspondence to me directlyat .Yours faithfullyThe Rt Hon Alex Salmond[Redacted]

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Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com


Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com


Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com


Daily uk news Alex Salmond CANCELS appearance at inquiry after Scots Parliament CENSORED the most damning part of his bombshell evidence against Sturgeon accusing her of lying and breaking ministerial code  MetiNews.Com

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