Sturgeon to be questioned under oath at Salmond inquiry

The committee was set up to look into the Government's handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, her predecessor Alex Salmond and her husband Peter Murrell will be questioned under oath when they give evidence to a Holyrood inquiry.

The committee set up by the Scottish Parliament to look at the Government’s handling of harassment complaints made against the former First Minster has confirmed it will take the unusual step when questioning witnesses.

But members of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints have agreed they will review that position when questioning vulnerable witnesses.

Some MSPs on the committee have argued taking sworn evidence under oath is necessary given the seriousness of its inquiry.

Committee papers have now confirmed this approach will be adopted, stating “as with any parliamentary committee, the committee has the ability to place witnesses under oath”.

The papers add: “The committee has agreed that it will administer an oath/solemn affirmation for witnesses as a matter of course but that it will review this position in the case of any vulnerable witnesses.”

The committee was set up to consider the actions of Ms Sturgeon, Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints against Mr Salmond that were made under the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints involving current or former ministers and procedure and actions in relation to the Scottish ministerial code.

Mr Salmond, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell, who is the SNP chief executive, are all listed as witnesses.

Scotland’s most senior civil servant, permanent secretary Leslie Evans, is expected to be the first witness to be questioned when the committee starts holding evidence sessions in August.

The committee was set up after the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in January 2019 that the Scottish Government’s actions in dealing with complaints made against the former first minister were “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias”.

In March this year, Mr Salmond was cleared of 13 sexual offences by a jury following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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