Nicola Sturgeon cleared of breaching ministerial code

Investigation by the independent code adviser James Hamilton QC publishes findings.

Russell Cheyne via PA Media

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been cleared of breaching the ministerial ethics code.

Sturgeon had been accused of misleading parliament and failing to record meetings connected to harassment allegations levelled at her predecessor Alex Salmond.

An inquiry carried out by the independent code adviser James Hamilton QC ruled on Monday that there had been no breach of the code.

His 61-page report concluded: “I am of the opinion that the First Minister did not breach the provisions of the ministerial code in respect of any of these matters.”

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Had the First Minister been found to have knowingly broken the rules, she would have been expected to offer her resignation less than two months before the Scottish election.

Sturgeon said: “I welcome the conclusions of James Hamilton’s independent investigation, which are comprehensive, evidence-based and unequivocal.

“Mr Hamilton has considered all of the allegations against me, and I am happy that his report’s findings clear me of any breach of the ministerial code.  

“I sought at every stage in this issue to act with integrity and in the public interest.  As I have previously made clear, I did not consider that I had broken the code, but these findings are official, definitive and independent adjudication of that.”

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The Scottish Conservatives repeatedly called for Sturgeon to resign in the run-up to the report being published and have tabled a motion of no-confidence in the First Minister.

However, the Scottish Greens said they would back Sturgeon, meaning she is likely to survive the Holyrood vote on Tuesday.

Mr Hamilton, the former director of public prosecutions in the Republic of Ireland, is the independent advisor to the Scottish Government on the ministerial code – a set of rules guiding how ministers should conduct themselves.

The code says it is the First Minister who is “the ultimate judge of the standards of behaviour expected of a minister” and responsible for the appropriate consequences for breaches.

The current First Minister referred herself to Mr Hamilton following Salmond’s successful legal challenge of the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation into harassment complaints against him, which led to Salmond winning more than £500,000 in court.

Salmond was later acquitted of 13 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape, in March 2020 following a High Court trial.

A separate inquiry by MSPs into the government’s handling of the harassment complaints is expected to publish its findings on Tuesday morning.

What did the report find?

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Mr Hamilton concluded in his report that Sturgeon did not breach the ministerial code in respect of any of the four issues he considered.

These included an allegation that her “failure to record her meetings with and telephone discussions with Salmond and others” in March, April, June and July 2018 was a breach and that the First Minister “may have attempted to influence the conduct of the investigation” into harassment complaints made against Salmond.

The third issue centred on whether Sturgeon misled the Scottish Parliament in relation to the meetings in 2018, and the fourth alleged that Sturgeon was in breach of her duty to comply with the law in relation to Salmond’s successful legal challenge against the Scottish Government.

Mr Hamilton’s inquiry also looked into Sturgeon’s failure to refer to the meeting of March 29, 2018 in a later statement to the Scottish Parliament.

She met with Mr Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein on this date, where he asked her to meet with Mr Salmond.

Discussing this, Mr Hamilton’s report says: “It is regrettable that the First Minister’s statement on January 8, 2019, did not include a reference to the meeting with Mr Aberdein on March 29.

“In my opinion, however her explanation for why she did not recall this meeting when giving her account to parliament, while inevitably likely to be greeted with suspicion, even scepticism by some, is not impossible.

“What tilts the balance towards accepting the First Minister’s account for me is that I find it difficult to think of any convincing reason why if she had in fact recalled the meeting she would have deliberately concealed it while disclosing all the conversations she had had with Mr Salmond.”

Political reaction

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross: “The First Minister has been given a pass because it has been judged her ‘failure of recollection’ was ‘not deliberate’.

“I respect Mr Hamilton and his judgement but we cannot agree with that assessment. Nicola Sturgeon did not suddenly turn forgetful.

“She is not free and clear. The First Minister promised to ‘respect the decisions’ of both inquiry reports, not to pick and choose which one suits her and try to discredit the other.

“The SNP spin machine will go into hyper-drive to again attack the committee report because they’re running scared of its findings. They have accelerated the vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon to avoid MSPs scrutinising that report.

“As James Hamilton says, it is up to the Scottish Parliament to decide if the First Minister has been misleading.

“This report does not change the overwhelming evidence that Nicola Sturgeon misled parliament, her government badly let women down and wasted more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money.  

“If Nicola Sturgeon won’t accept responsibility, then I urge opposition parties to back our vote of no confidence.

“Nationalist or unionist, left or right, none of the usual political divisions matter now. Either we respect the fundamental principles of democratic accountability – or we don’t.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar: “Unlike others, we have been clear from the outset that we would not prejudge the outcome of this inquiry.

“We acknowledge the findings of the report and we await the publication of the committee inquiry and whether its members conclude the First Minister misled parliament.

“What is clear is that this entire process has deeply damaged public trust in our politics at a time of national crisis, and there are absolutely no winners today.

“At the heart of this are two women who have been badly let down by the government, and it remains the case that nobody has taken responsibility.

“There are still questions of judgement and an urgent need to restore trust, confidence and transparency in our institutions.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie: “Unlike other political parties we’ve said all along that we would respect due process, we therefore welcome the publication of James Hamilton’s independent report. It retains credibility in this process, unlike the parliamentary committee which has repeatedly sabotaged its own authority and betrayed the trust of original complainers.

“Mr Hamilton has clearly concluded that the First Minister did not breach the ministerial code, so we will not support the vote of no confidence being pushed by the Tories.

“In lodging a vote of no confidence before this report was published, just as they called for the First Minister’s resignation before she even gave evidence to the parliamentary committee, the Tories have shown that they have no interest in establishing the truth.

“This entire saga should have been about examining a process that let down women and ensuring that was never repeated. In their ridiculous attempts to pursue a political scalp the Tories have completely ignored that fact.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie: “The judgement from James Hamilton does not make the First Minister’s resignation automatic but no-one can deny that her errors of judgement still make resignation a live consideration.

“James Hamilton does not give the First Minister a clean bill of health. He says it is up to parliament to determine whether it has been misled over the help that the First Minister is said to have offered Alex Salmond in her home.

“Even the most ardent SNP supporter must recognise that the women involved were let down by the government and that £500,000 was wasted defending the indefensible in court.

“These matters will be addressed by the committee report tomorrow which will need to be considered carefully.

“Let me be clear. No-one will win from this ugly episode, certainly not Alex Salmond.”


Tributes paid to former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith

Figures from across the football world and beyond have expressed their sadness.

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Smith was one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history.

Tributes have been paid to Scottish managerial great Walter Smith, who has died at the age of 73.

Smith, who won 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, and also had time in charge of Scotland and Everton, was one of the nation’s most successful managers, and figures from across sport and beyond expressed their sadness at his passing.

Ally McCoist, who played under Smith before working as a coach alongside him at Ibrox and with the Scotland national team, said he had lost “a second father”.

He told talkSPORT: “He means everything to a lot of folk. He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends.

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“The loss is absolutely incredible.

“The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.

“I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, but what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you want from a man.

“I can’t tell you how devastated I am.”

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Rangers chairman Douglas Park said the club had lost a major figure.

He said: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”

Political figures also paid tribute to Smith.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:  “Very sad to hear of the death of former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith – he was a true football great.

“My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across the world of football.”

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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar posted a tribute to Smith on Twitter, which read: “So sorry to hear of the death of Walter Smith – a true football legend.

“He was a huge figure, especially in Glasgow, when I was growing up.

“He was loved by many and respected by all. My thoughts are with his wife, family and friends at this sad time.” 

Scotland captain Andy Robertson tweeted that it was “heartbreaking to lose another great of Scottish football”, adding: “A man of wisdom, dignity and integrity whose legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.”

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster and chairman Murdoch MacLennan paid tribute to a man who won ten league titles in his time at Rangers.

Doncaster said: “This is terrible news for Walter’s family and friends, and also for everyone associated with Scottish football.

“Walter was a true giant of the game with an unparalleled reputation for integrity and character.

“It was a great privilege to have met with him many times in the Blue Room at Ibrox and at grounds the length and breadth of the country during his long and illustrious career with Rangers.

“It was therefore no surprise to find, during his time on the Rangers board, that his contributions to our various discussions were hugely insightful, cogent and grounded in common sense for the betterment of the wider game.

“He will be sadly, sadly missed. but his achievements across the decades – from his time with Dundee United, Scotland, and, of course, Rangers serve as a fitting legacy for one of the true giants of our game.”

MacLennan said: “Walter Smith represented all that was good about our game.

“He was universally admired and respected, and with very good reason.

“His career ranks among the greatest ever in Scottish football’s long and illustrious history. Of course, Rangers fans hold him in the utmost regard for his long and proud association with their club, but Scottish football in its widest sense owes Walter an enormous debt of gratitude.”

UEFA and FIFA also sent their thoughts and prayers to Smith’s loved ones. Along with a crying face and a broken heart emoji, UEFA tweeted: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Walter Smith.

“Our thoughts are with all his friends and family.”

While FIFA posted: “Very sad news from Scotland. Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter Smith’s loved ones.”

Former Scotland and Rangers manager Alex McLeish said he was devastated by the news, and added: ” My thoughts are with Walter’s wife Ethel, his sons Neil and Steven and the whole family.

“Walter was a great mentor to me in my coaching career and someone I learned a great deal from, but more importantly, he was a great friend and I always looked forward to being in his company.

“He is a true legend of the football world.”

Rangers’ rivals Celtic sent their condolences.

A tweet read: “Celtic Football Club expresses its deepest sympathies following the sad news that former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith, has passed away.

“Walter was a tremendous servant to Scottish football and everyone at Celtic FC sends their heartfelt condolences.”

Clubs across the league added to the tributes, with Motherwell manager Graham Alexander saying he owed Smith a debt of gratitude from his time as a Scotland player.

“It’s terrible news,” Alexander said.

“I just have fantastic memories of the man. He sent me a great message when I came up here to work at Motherwell, a fantastic man to think of me at that time.

“I owe the resurgence of my Scotland career to him and I had without doubt my best spell of my Scotland career playing under Walter.

“A brilliant man first and foremost from my experience of how he was on the human side, how he treated everybody, and I mean everybody, not just the players but absolutely everyone who had the pleasure of being in his company.

“To play under him was an absolute privilege. Actually just getting picked by Walter, I thought I had won already because it was an achievement just to get picked by him.”


Obituary: Ex-Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith

Walter Smith was one of the most successful Scottish football managers of all time.

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Smith won 21 domestic trophies as manager of Rangers.

Walter Smith, the former Scotland and Rangers boss and one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history, has died aged 73.

Smith’s career in professional football spanned 45 years, taking him to international level and cementing a position among the elite of the club game.

As manager of Rangers over two spells, he won ten league titles, five Scottish Cups, six League Cups and guided his side to the UEFA Cup final in 2008.

Smith was also awarded an OBE in 1997 for his services to association football.

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Born in Lanark in 1948, his football career started in earnest when the defender signed for Dundee United in 1966 after a spell in Junior football. Smith played for the Tannadice club over two spells, and also had two years at Dumbarton, the highlight being a Scottish Cup final appearance in 1974.

By the time he hung up his boots in 1980, Smith had already begun a coaching career that would far surpass the success of his playing days.

Starting out at Dundee United under the guidance of Jim McLean, the young coach combined his duties at Tannadice while working with Scotland’s Under-18 team. He was alongside Andy Roxburgh when Scotland won the European Youth Championship in 1982, the country’s first international title at any level.

His growing reputation as a coach grew and he was appointed manager of Scotland’s Under-21 side, and then acted as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.

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That year brought another pivotal moment in Smith’s career, when he moved to Ibrox to become assistant manager at the club he supported as a child. Acting as assistant to Graeme Souness, he was a central figure in a dramatic and impactful time at the club and in Scottish football as Rangers brought in high-profile players from England and targeted success at home and abroad.

Smith was alongside Souness as Rangers won three league titles and four Scottish Cups and, when Souness suddenly left Glasgow to return to Liverpool in 1991, the Ibrox club made the decision to elevate the assistant to the top job. It would prove to be a move that delivered one of the most successful spells in the club’s history.

Under ambitious owner David Murray, Rangers spent big and won big. Smith signed a number of the best players from across Scotland and supplemented them with stars from across Europe, including Alexei Mikhailichenko, Brian Laudrup, Basile Boli and Paul Gascoigne.

Rangers had won the previous two titles under Souness, and Smith delivered seven more, dominating the domestic game as Rangers equalled rivals Celtic’s record of nine successive league trophies. Three Scottish Cup wins and three League Cup wins in that time added to the trophy haul, but Smith’s tenure was also marked by some big moments in European football, including a run in the 1992-93 Champions League that saw them beat English champions Leeds United and go unbeaten in the group stage, missing out on a place in the final by a single point.

Smith stepped down in 1998, his final season seeing Celtic win the league title on a dramatic final day, and Rangers lose to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

He returned to management shortly after his Ibrox departure, succeeding Howard Kendall at Goodison Park. Though his four years in charge didn’t bring success, Smith was a steady hand at the wheel as spending at Everton was restricted while rival clubs splashed the cash.

After leaving the Toffees, Smith had a brief spell at Manchester United, reuniting with Alex Ferguson as assistant at Old Trafford, but he was soon to return to front-line management.

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Scotland needed a change of direction after the tumultuous Berti Vogts era and Smith answered the call, taking the manager’s job in 2004. Though the team missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup, the Scot brought marked improvement to the side and a climb up the world rankings was proof of his success.

Smith and Scotland were part-way through the Euro 2008 qualifiers when Rangers asked him to return to the club in January 2007 after Paul Le Guen left Ibrox.

The second spell at Rangers saw Smith underline his iconic status with the Rangers support. Three further league titles, three League Cups and three Scottish Cups added to his formidable trophy haul, but a European run against the odds was the highlight in 2008.

Smith’s side began the season in the Champions League but could only finish third in a group that pitted them against Barcelona, Lyon and Stuttgart. That brought the consolation prize of a place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup and Rangers took on that challenge and excelled.

A disciplined side with a miserly defence saw off Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Frioentina, conceding only one goal along the way, to reach the final.

At the showpiece match in Manchester, Smith’s side came up against Zenti St Petersburg, but fell short in a 2-0 defeat.

Smith retired in 2011, having amassed 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, second only to Bill Struth in terms of silverware at Ibrox and with his prominent place in the club’s history books assured.

He later had brief spells as a director and chairman at the club but also offered guidance and advice to those who came after him as Rangers boss.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park said on Tuesday: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first-team manager.”


‘I was there to look after my family 24 hours a day’

Around 30,000 young Scots have to care for relatives - responsibilities made more challenging during lockdown.

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Sixteen-year-old Zuhair Alhamdan is among 30,000 young Scots tasked with caring for others.

The eldest of four children, he helps look after two of his siblings, who have a genetic condition.

Since lockdown hit last March, Zuhair has had to take on a number of other challenging responsibilities.

He tells his story in the new STV Children’s Appeal documentary Where’s Your Head At?, which looks at the impact of lockdown on young people’s mental health.

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“Balancing my own time, studying, and helping with the family – I found those three variables really difficult, especially in lockdown when my family really depended on me and I was there 24 hours a day,” Zuhair says.

“And I think the fear of getting Covid and endangering the family was great.”

Zuhair and his sister Layan, 13, are members of Perth and Kinross Young Carers Voice (PKAVS), a service which offers support and respite.

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Young carer Zuhair Alhamdan helps to look after his family.

Now restrictions have eased, they’re finding comfort in meeting face to face with fellow young carers, sharing their experiences and helping each other.

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A recent study by Carers Trust Scotland found that more than half (59%) of young carers had to increase their caring hours during the pandemic, taking its toll on their mental health.

Adie Shepherd, a support worker for young carers, says: “If we do establish anything or notice that there’s any mental health concerns, if there’s anything that has come out during our visits, then we can refer on to our counselling service [for] one-to-one support.”

Meanwhile, there are concerns that conditions such as Long Covid have created even more young carers across Scotland. 

Raymond Jamieson, PKAVS Carers Hub manager, says: “Prior to lockdown, young carers had challenges and stresses and anxieties, and responsibilities that you would usually associate with an adult, but certainly Covid enhanced that greatly.

“If there was shopping to be done, or bills to be paid, or a visit to the pharmacy to pick up the medication, they wouldn’t want the cared for person to do that because they’d wanted them safe in the house.”

Where’s Your Head At?, a documentary as part of the STV Children’s Appeal, is on STV and the STV Player at 8pm on Tuesday, October 26.


Homicides in Scotland drop to lowest number since 1976, figures show

There were 55 homicides recorded in Scotland in 2020-21 – the fewest since comparable records began back in 1976.

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There were 55 homicides recorded in Scotland in 2020-21.

The number of homicide cases in Scotland has fallen to the lowest level for more than four decades, figures show.

There were 55 homicides recorded in Scotland in 2020-21 – the fewest since comparable records began back in 1976.

With three cases involving more than one person, there were 58 victims, the Scottish Government statistics showed – with 48 of them male, while ten were women.

The number of victims was down from the previous year, with 65 deaths from homicide in 2019-20

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And over the last decade the figures showed that the number of homicide cases recorded in Scotland has fallen by 40%.

Cases have dropped from 91 homicides in 2011-12 – with Glasgow City accounting for about a fifth (22%) of this fall, with cases there dropping to eight in 2020-21.

The coronavirus lockdown may have helped reduce the number of homicides, the report said, although it urged caution.

“The nationwide lockdowns and other measures put in place to limit social contact during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic may have had an impact on the number of homicide cases,” it stated.

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“However, some caution is advised in assessing this, as the volume of cases recorded in 2020-21 is not substantially different to some earlier years (such as 59 in 2017-18).”

Of the 48 men who died as a result of homicide last year, almost three quarters (73%) were killed by an acquaintance.

Meanwhile 30% of the women killed died at the hands of their partner or a former partner.

Almost three out of five killings (59%) involved the use of a knife or some other sharp instrument, such as a broken bottle, sword or sharpened screwdriver.

In 17% of cases, the victim was hit and kicked to death, with 5% being shot.

Just over two thirds (67%) of all homicides took place in someone’s home, with 31% happening in a public place and 2% in prison.

All cases of homicide recorded in 2020-21 were solved, the report said.

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Of the 65 people accused of carrying out the killings, a total of 60 were male.


Bull chased by police through city streets after escaping ‘from abattoir’

The animal was on the loose near Inveralmond Industrial Estate in Perth.

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The animal was followed by officers in cars and vans in the Inveralmond Industrial Estate area.

A bull on the loose in Perth was pursued by police through the city after it reportedly escaped from an abattoir.

The animal was followed by officers in cars and vans in the Inveralmond Industrial Estate area shortly after 8am on Tuesday.

An eyewitness told STV News that officers were able to herd the beast off Dunkeld Road.

Police Scotland said the bull continued into a residential area where it was then contained. However, despite efforts being made to recover the creature, officers said it had to be killed.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a loose bull in the area of the Inveralmond Industrial Estate in Perth shortly after 8.10am on Tuesday, October 26.

“Unfortunately the animal continued into a residential area where it was safely contained by officers.

“All efforts were made to recover the bull but sadly the animal had to be destroyed at the scene.”

Perth and Kinross Council has been contacted for comment.


Former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith dies aged 73

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Rangers FC chairman Douglas Park paid tribute to the Light Blues legend.

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Legend: Former Rangers manager Walter Smith.

Rangers legend Walter Smith has died at the age of 73.

The former chairman and manager led the Light Blues to ten top-flight titles, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups as well as to the UEFA Cup final in 2008.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Rangers FC chairman Douglas Park said: “On behalf of the Rangers board of directors, staff and players, I convey my deep condolences to the Smith family.

“Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”

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A former Dundee United and Dumbarton defender, Smith was appointed manager at Ibrox in 1991, succeeding Graeme Souness.

He won 13 major trophies in seven years, including seven league titles in succession, before leaving at the end of the 1997/98 season and subsequently joining Everton.

He stayed at Goodison Park for four seasons before a brief stint as assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Smith was appointed Scotland manager in December 2004 and was in charge for three years before returning to Rangers, where he won a further eight trophies before retiring in 2011 after completing another domestic double.

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Top class: Douglas Park said Smith ’embodied everything that a Ranger should be’.
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Mr Park added: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers.

“He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful.

“I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”

Mr Park said Smith would be remembered by the football community across the world.

He added: “His spells as Scotland manager as well as managing in the English Premier League underlined his credentials as one of the great modern day football managers.

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“However, for Rangers supporters, he was much more than just a football manager. Walter was a friend to many, a leader, an ambassador and most of all – a legend.”

Following the announcement of his death, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith – he was a true football great.

“My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across the world of football.”

Sir David Attenborough: Act on climate now or it will be too late

COP26 has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C.

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Climate: Attenborough has criticised those who deny crisis.

Sir David Attenborough has issued a warning ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow that leaders must act now or “it’ll be too late” for the planet.

COP26 has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C, with Sir David critical of those who deny the climate crisis.

In conversation with BBC science editor David Shukman, the naturalist and broadcaster said: “Every month that passes, it becomes more and more incontrovertible, the changes to the planet that we are responsible for that are having these devastating effects.”

He added: “If we don’t act now, it will be too late. We have to do it now.”

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Wealthier western countries like the UK have a “moral responsibility” to help refugees displaced by climate change, the 95-year-old said.

“We caused it – our kind of industrialisation is one of the major factors in producing this change in climate. So we have a moral responsibility,” he told the BBC.

“Even if we didn’t cause it, we would have a moral responsibility to do something about thousands of men, women and children who’ve lost everything, everything. Can we just say goodbye and say this is no business of ours?”

Earlier in October, Attenborough, who will be present at the summit, said the possibilities of COP26 gave him “some hope”.

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“For the first time people around the world will hear the arguments as to what we should do, the analyses as to what the problems are and what the solutions are,” he said.

“Those two things bring me some hope.”

Boris Johnson will welcome world leaders to Glasgow for the summit which begins on Sunday after saying it was “touch and go” whether key goals would be met as the the heads of some major polluting nations are set to skip the event.

Earlier this month, the Queen acknowledged she would attend COP26 and appeared to suggest she was irritated by a lack of action in tackling the climate crisis.

It came days after her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, warned world leaders in Glasgow against “clever speak, clever words but not enough action”.

Recent analysis suggests that even with the latest pledges and targets, the earth is heading for around 2.4C of warming in the long-term.


What’s on the menu for hungry delegates at COP26?

Most of the food on offer during the climate summit has been sourced locally, organisers say.

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The COP26 climate summit is being held at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow.

Most of the food served up at the COP26 climate summit will be sourced locally from Scotland, according to the UK Government.

Organisers insist ingredients are being used across menus to prevent food waste, while drinks will be served in reusable cups.

Here’s a look at what’s on offer in the ‘blue zone’ at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow, where world leaders will be taking part in crucial negotiations:

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Calls to bring back £100 payment to help pensioners heat their homes

Malcolm Cunning, Glasgow's Labour group leader, will bring a motion to this week’s full council meeting.

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Fuel poverty: Malcolm Cunning, Glasgow's Labour group leader, will bring a motion to this week’s full council meeting.

Glasgow councillors are set to vote on whether to bring back a £100 payment to help people aged over 80 heat their homes.

Councillor Malcolm Cunning, the city’s Labour group leader, will bring a motion to this week’s full council meeting, which asks for the ‘affordable warmth’ payment to be reintroduced this financial year.

He wants the council to provide a “lifeline” to thousands of older people as energy prices soar.

The payment, introduced by a Labour council a decade ago, was scrapped earlier this year by the SNP administration, when its budget deal with the Greens was passed.

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At the time, the SNP said the affordable warmth payment would be replaced by a Scottish Government scheme, and would include almost £5m for the over 80s.

Labour believes reintroducing the payment would help tens of thousands of pensioners, and councillor Cunning estimated the cost of the scheme would be at least £1.3m. 

He said: “Thousands of older people in Glasgow are struggling with their energy bills and face the horrific choice of heating or eating this winter.

“For years, the city council has provided a lifeline payment to the over-80s to help them through the winter months, recognising that nobody should be freezing in their own home.

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“The SNP’s decision to scrap this was deeply regrettable, but there is now a chance to make amends.

“With prices soaring this is an immediate emergency, and as a council we must come together to help the most vulnerable in our city.”

He said there is a cost-of-living crisis caused by rising energy bills, the end of the furlough scheme and the UK Government’s decision to axe the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

The motion, to be presented to councillors on Thursday, states money to cover the affordable warmth payment should be taken from the council’s reserves, and future funding options should be included in a report after May 2022.

Councillor Cunning recognises pressures on council staff currently administering Covid-19 relief funds may delay the rollout of the payment, but it should be “disbursed as soon as practically possible”.

He will also call on the Scottish and UK governments to introduce more support for vulnerable households

Nationally, Scottish Labour has called on the Scottish Government to launch a £70 winter fuel supplement for low-income pensioners and struggling families.

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Council leader Susan Aitken had previously described the affordable warmth payment as a “lifesaver” but, in March, said it had been a “great policy for its time”.

She said money could be reinvested in “other ways to support people in poverty, including older people”.

The city’s SNP group has been approached for comment.

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands


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