BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg warns Nicola Sturgeon the Alex Salmond inquiry ‘looks so damaging’

Sturgeon: Kuenssberg warns inquiry ‘looks so damaging’

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Laura Kuenssberg told the BBC’s Politics Live that the Alex Salmond inquiry is a tricky issue for the SNP as they have a reputation for strong unity. The inquiry centres around the handling of sexual harassment allegations made against the former SNP leader Mr Salmond. 

Ms Kuenssberg said: “It is a very tricky issue for the SNP, not least because they have got a reputation of being such a united, effective, campaigning force.

“This is very distracting, there are huge amounts of bad blood spilling all over the place, whether that is on social media or Parliamentary committees.

“The second thing is that there are very big questions being asked in Scotland right now about whether or not the Parliament has been able to do its job properly.

“And whether legal authorities in Scotland have been involved in the proper ways.

“I think at the heart of this, it is about the two biggest characters in Scottish politics in recent times and also the leader of the third biggest party in Westminster, accusing each other of not being straight with people, accusing each other of not telling the truth.

“When you talk to people that are close to Nicola Sturgeon, there is a feeling that she is trusted by most of the Scottish public at such a high level that this is not sort of cutting through to damage her.

“But as one senior SNP figure said to me this morning, you cannot be complacent about that because this looks so damaging.”

A Savanta ComRes poll of 1,000 Scottish people found 42 percent believed the SNP were united in February, a drop from 8 percent from January. 

Alex Salmond inquiry is at ‘bad time for Sturgeon’ says expert

Rachel Watson, who is the Scottish Daily Mail Deputy Political Editor, told the BBC’s Newsnight that inquiry has come at a bad time for Ms Sturgeon as the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections approach.

Ms Watson said: “You know, we’re just weeks away in Scotland from the Scottish Parliament elections and I think this has come at a really bad time for Nicola Sturgeon.

“The Parliament dissolves next month and we get into the campaign and we’re going to have Alex Salmond’s evidence potentially appealing at the committee or at a press conference.

“Nicola Sturgeon still has to appear the committee and the report has to come out.”

She added:  “So I think you know this is all very difficult point for the SNP and I think it all hinges now on them.”


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Mr Salmond was accused of sexual harassment and was subject to a Government investigation.

He was later awarded £500,000 by the Scottish High Court after the Government admitted they acted unlawfully when they were investigating those claims of sexual harassment. 

He was cleared of all charges. 

The inquiry is now looking at what went wrong and is focusing on the role Nicola Sturgeon and other SNP members played in handling Mr Salmond’s case. 

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