Sturgeon: I’ll be relieved to have my say at Salmond inquiry

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond will speak to a Holyrood inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will feel a “sense of relief” when she finally gets to speak about the breakdown in her relationship with Alex Salmond.

A rift developed between the First Minister and her predecessor Salmond after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

Both will give evidence to an Holyrood committee set up to examine how the Scottish Government handled the initial harassment claims.

Salmond launched a legal battle against Sturgeon’s administration over the way it dealt with the allegations and the Court of Session ruled in his favour in January 2019.

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The court ordered the Scottish Government to pay Salmond more than £500,000 in legal costs, ruling its conduct had been “unlawful” and “tainted with apparent bias”.

Salmond was cleared of all criminal charges against him in a High Court case earlier this year.

Sturgeon, who served as his deputy for seven years, likened the breakdown in their relationship to the grieving process.

Speaking on the The Ladder programme on Times Radio, she said: “Imagine how it would feel, you know, for any reason and whatever the circumstances, if somebody that has been one of the biggest presences in your life, outside my own family, my husband, probably the most significant adult in my life for all of my adult life… and then imagine that they’re not in that role anymore.

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“And it’s difficult. I’ve not been able to talk about this because of the criminal trial and then when the criminal trial ended, I was immersed, as I still am, in Covid.

“I will get the opportunity to talk about that in the parliamentary inquiries that are to come.

“While I wouldn’t say I relish that prospect at all, there will to some extent be a sense of relief at just being able to have my say and put my side across and then let people make up their own minds.”

Speaking about the change in relationship with the man who was her mentor, Sturgeon added: “There is a sense of something that I suppose is not a million miles from a grieving process, but you know, we all go through difficult things and we have to cope with them.”

She went on to say she believes Scotland will become independent “sooner rather than later”, adding that will see the country become “an equal partner” with the rest of the UK.