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Alex Salmond claims he is victim of 'malicious attempt' to remove him from public life
22 February 2021, 21:08
Alex Salmond has claimed he is the victim of a "malicious and concerted" attempt to damage his reputation and remove him from public life in Scotland.
The former first minister, whose submission to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was published on Monday, has named several people he alleges were part of an effort to discredit him.
This list includes Nicola Sturgeon's husband, along with her chief of staff. It also says the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is "not fit for purpose".
"The inescapable conclusion is of a malicious and concerted attempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland," Mr Salmond wrote.
"It is an attempt which would, in fact, have succeeded but for the protection of the court and jury system and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.
"However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all is the complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law.
"I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy but am very clear in my position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned.
"That includes, for the avoidance of doubt, Peter Murrell (chief executive), Ian McCann (compliance officer) and Sue Ruddick (chief operating officer) of the SNP together with Liz Lloyd, the First Minister's Chief of Staff.
"There are others who, for legal reasons, I am not allowed to name."
Mr Salmond later added his belief that "the real cost" had been the millions of pounds spent on the process without anyone ultimately resigning.
He said: "The Committee now has the opportunity to address that position."
Meanwhile, Mrs Sturgeon has said there is "not a shred of evidence" that Mr Salmond can show there was such an effort launched against him.
It comes after Mr Salmond earlier won a £512,000 payout from a case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, which has prompted the Committee probe into the Scottish government's botched handling of harassment allegations against him.
"What we have not seen is a shred of evidence to back these wild claims up," Mrs Sturgeon has said.
"Now, in front of the Parliament, the burden of proof is on Alex Salmond.
"It is time for insinuation and assertion to be replaced with actual evidence.
"And if, as I fully expect, there is no evidence, because there was no conspiracy, then people will draw their own conclusions."
The former SNP leader, however, has claimed the Crown Office has blocked the Committee from accessing certain evidence.
He said: "Despite that deplorable prohibition, I can confirm that all of the material factual statements made in this submission are supported by documentary evidence.
"Where I am legally allowed to direct the Committee to such documents, I will be happy to do so."