'Concerted effort' by SNP to encourage complaints against Salmond - Tory MP claims

17 March 2021, 08:49

David Davis made the claim in the Commons last night
David Davis made the claim in the Commons last night. Picture: Parliament

By Asher McShane

Tory MP David Davis has used parliamentary privilege to make accusations of a "concerted effort by senior members of the SNP to encourage complaints" against Alex Salmond.

David Davis raised concerns about the processes surrounding the investigation into former SNP leader Mr Salmond, highlighting text messages disclosed by a whistleblower.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced questions in recent weeks in relation to the botched handling of harassment complaints against her predecessor.

Speaking in an adjournment debate in the Commons last night, Mr Davis said the UK Government must "reinforce the ability of the Scottish Parliament to hold its own government to account".

He said: "A few weeks ago I was passed some papers from an anonymous whistleblower."

Mr Davis said the information of the papers consisted of a download of text messages from the telephone of a senior SNP official.

He added: "Now Alex Salmond has asserted that there has been, and I quote 'a malicious and concerted attempt to remove me from public life in Scotland by a range of individuals within the Scottish government and the SNP' who set out to damage his reputation, even to the extent of having him imprisoned.

"These are incredibly grave charges, the whistleblower clearly agrees with those charges.

"He or she starts their communication with the assertion that the evidence provided, and I quote, 'point to collusion, perjury, up to criminal conspiracy'."

Mr Davis told MPs the messages present a case "which demands serious investigation, by which I mean at the very least a thorough review of all the emails and other electronic records for the relevant personnel at all the relevant times".

He added: "For example, these texts show that there is a concerted effort by senior members of the SNP to encourage complaints."

Mr Davis went on to refer to what the messages suggested.

Replying for the Government, Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart did not comment specifically on the allegations made by Mr Davis.

A spokesman for First Minister Ms Sturgeon said in a statement: "As with Mr Salmond's previous claims and cherry picking of messages, the reality is very different to the picture being presented.

"Every message involving SNP staff has been seen by the committee previously. Their views have been widely reported as dismissive of them."

Alex Salmond was cleared of all charges against him last March and took the Scottish government to court, and won, over its handling of harassment complaints.