No confidence vote on Swinney over Salmond legal advice

The Scottish Conservatives will this week lodge a motion of no confidence in Deputy First Minister John Swinney for refusing to release the SNP Government’s legal advice over Alex Salmond’s judicial review.

The party are giving Swinney 24 hours to agree to release the legal advice or face a vote to remove him.

The Deputy First Minister has ignored two cross-party votes in the Scottish Parliament, both in the name of Murdo Fraser MSP, calling for the legal advice to be released.

In today’s Sunday Post, the cross-party Salmond inquiry committee have made a last-minute appeal for the legal advice to be released.

The legal advice is expected to show that the Scottish Government were aware of the fatal flaw in their case months before conceding the judicial review.

The Sunday Mail have also reported previously that the government’s senior counsel Roddy Dunlop QC warned them they would lose the judicial review.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “We are giving the Scottish Government one last chance to be transparent and respect the will of the Scottish Parliament.

“Twice, opposition parties united to call for the legal advice to be released. The cross-party Holyrood committee have pleaded with the government to produce it.

“The government said they would listen but they clearly have not. The legal advice remains hidden.

“This evidence is crucial to uncovering the specific mistakes that lost more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money and let the women at the heart of this investigation down.

“We urge other opposition parties to support this move. It is not about politics, it’s about getting to the truth of what happened. Without the evidence, that will not happen.

“We will gladly withdraw this motion if the legal advice is released.”

Notes

The Parliamentary bureau meets on Tuesday. At that point, the Scottish Conservatives will lodge a motion of no confidence in John Swinney if the legal advice has not been released.

The Scottish Government has previously released legal advice -

  1. The Scottish Government have released legal advice to the (UK) Infected Blood Inquiry. The SNP were previously criticised for a lack of participation in this inquiry, which is still ongoing. The inquiry will investigate contaminated blood products that affected an estimated 3,000 Scots between 1970 and 1991. A response to a Parliamentary Question has revealed that the SNP have already released legal advice to this inquiry (Scottish Parliament, 1 September 2020, pg. 11, link; BBC, 25 September 2018, link; Infected Blood Inquiry, accessed on 9 September 2020, link).
  1. The Scottish Government previously released legal advice to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. The inquiry, set up in 2015, is investigating historic abuse of children in care. It has now been revealed that the SNP have released legal advice to this inquiry, which is now expected to last over a decade due to the volume of evidence received (Scottish Parliament, 1 September 2020, pg. 11, link; Scottish Government, accessed on 9 September 2020, link; Child Abuse Inquiry, accessed on 9 September 2020, link; The Herald, 9 September 2020, link).

 

  1. The Scottish Government waived legal privilege to release legal advice to the Trams Inquiry. A response to a Parliamentary Question has revealed that legal advice was released to this inquiry, which is investigating delays and budgeting errors in the Edinburgh Trams Project (Scottish Parliament, 1 September 2020, pg. 11, link; Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, accessed on 9 September 2020, link).
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