Scottish Conservatives threaten court action over legal advice
The Scottish Conservatives have threatened to launch court action if the SNP Government continues to ignore the Scottish Parliament and block the Salmond inquiry’s bid for key documents.
Earlier this month, opposition MSPs of every party backed a Scottish Conservative motion calling on the government to release the legal advice they received for Alex Salmond’s legal challenge.
Former SNP minister Alex Neil abstained in that vote and said afterwards: “The Government is going to have to release this legal advice. In my view the founding principles of the Parliament are openness, transparency and accountability. In this instance, the logic of that is this legal advice has to be given to the committee.”
SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, the Salmond inquiry committee convener, has also criticised the government repeatedly for not co-operating and refusing to release key documents.
However, the government have still refused to hand over the legal advice they received for the judicial review about their investigation of sexual misconduct claims against Alex Salmond.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I have instructed the party to start preparations for launching legal action if the government refuses to listen to the Scottish Parliament and release these key documents.
“They have already ignored one vote in the Scottish Parliament. If they ignore a second vote this week, the Scottish Conservatives as the lead opposition party will seek to deliver what MSPs across the Scottish Parliament have demanded.
“The committee is being obstructed and blocked from doing its job. The First Minister’s promises to “co-operate fully” have been broken.
“If the government continues to abuse its power to shut down scrutiny, the Scottish Conservatives will look to force their hand so we can find out how more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money was lost.”
Sturgeon told Parliament six times that she would co-operate fully and provide as much information as possible to Parliament and the Salmond inquiry.
- She said: ‘Therefore, I will…seek to provide Parliament in this statement, and in answers to the questions that follow it, with as much detail as I can.’ (Official Report, 08 January 2019, link).
- She said: ‘Ministers and Government officials will co-operate fully with that, as they do in all inquiries.' (Official Report, 10 January 2019, link).
- She said: '…Obviously I, the Scottish Government, the permanent secretary and any other member or official of the Scottish Government will co-operate fully with whatever Parliament decides to do.' (Official Report, 10 January 2019, link).
- She said: 'If there is a parliamentary inquiry, I will ensure that all parts of the Scottish Government co-operate fully with it.' (Official Report, 10 January 2019, link).
- She said: 'Now that those inquiries have been called for—and now that I, my Government and my party have agreed to support the establishment of those inquiries and co-operate fully with them—it is incumbent on all of us to respect those processes. That is what I will do.' (Official Report, 17 January 2019, link).
- She said: 'The inquiries will be able to request whatever material they want, and I undertake today that we will provide whatever material they request. That is the definition of full, thorough and open inquiries. It will not be for me to decide what material the parliamentary inquiry, when it gets under way, wants to request. My commitment is that the Government and I will co-operate fully with it, which is, I think, appropriate.' (Official Report, 17 January 2019, link).
Labour ‘not serious’ about stopping the SNP
Scottish Labour have been slammed for putting tribal differences above working with unionists to stop the SNP.
Richard Leonard and the party itself tweeted last night that they were “happy to rule out” a deal with the Scottish Conservatives to stop the SNP.
Labour councillors in Aberdeen remain suspended for working with the Scottish Conservatives, meanwhile six councils in Scotland are run by SNP-Labour coalitions.
A year ago this week, Richard Leonard said: "Unionist is not a description I would pin on myself”, and he has previously said he was “opposed to the Better Together campaign approach the Labour Party took.”
Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman, Dean Lockhart MSP, said: “Labour are not serious about stopping the SNP. They never put the Union first.
“They’ve made it crystal clear that they will put tribal differences above stopping the SNP’s push for another divisive referendum next year.
“They’re happier working with the SNP than against them. In six councils across Scotland they already prop up the nationalists, and they haven’t ruled out a deal with the SNP after the 2021 election.
“They kicked out Aberdeen councillors just for working with us to stop the SNP. Only the Scottish Conservatives put the Union first and do whatever it takes to stand up to the SNP.”
Leonard’s ‘no more Better Together’ comment is here: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/scottish-labour-ditch-better-together-17483692
Leonard’s ‘not a unionist’ comment is here: https://archive.news.stv.tv/politics/1442674-richard-leonard-i-wouldnt-describe-myself-as-a-unionist.html
Labour councillors went into coalition with the Conservatives in Aberdeen City. All nine councillors were kicked out of the party for it and they remain suspended.
Labour are in coalition with the SNP in 6 of Scotland’s 32 councils (Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Fife, South Ayrshire and Stirling).