Nicola Sturgeon reveals Alex Salmond messages LIVE on television

Nicola Sturgeon reveals Alex Salmond messages LIVE on television as she faces claims of with-holding information from official inquiry into handling of sexual misconduct claims against former first minister

  • Scotland’s First Minister made the move on Sky News this morning 
  • She was accused of withholding WhatsApp exchanges by Salmond’s lawyers
  • Sturgeon is embroiled in the probe into handling of sexual misconduct claims 
  • Salmond was cleared of all 13 charges in a criminal trial in Scotland in March

Nicola Sturgeon revealed previously undisclosed messages text between her and Alex Salmond live on television today, accusing her predecessor of being ‘clearly angry with me’ for not covering up sexual harassment allegations against him.  

Scotland’s First Minister made the move on Sky News this morning after being accused of withholding the WhatsApp exchanges by Mr Salmond’s legal team.

Ms Sturgeon is embroiled in the probe into how the claims against Mr Salmond – alleging he behaved inappropriately towards female staff at Edinburgh Airport – were handled by the Scottish Government. 

Ex-First Minister Mr Salmond, 65, was acquitted of all charges in a court case in March.

Ms Sturgeon told Sophy Ridge on Sunday today they were ‘not a big revelation’, adding that the claims were a diversionary tactic by her ‘annoyed’ predecessor.

She acknowledged the messages did make ‘an oblique reference’ to claims of inappropriate conduct by Mr Salmond – despite saying she had already released all relevant evidence to the Holyrood investigation into the government’s botched handling of harassment allegations.

Scotland’s First Minister made the move on Sky News this morning after being accused of withholding the WhatsApp exchanges by Mr Salmond’s legal team

Ms Sturgeon is embroiled in the probe into how the claims against Mr Salmond – alleging he behaved inappropriately towards female staff at Edinburgh Airport – were handled by the Scottish Government.

Challenged about the claims this morning, the First Minister offered to read out the messages she believed Mr Salmond’s lawyers were referring to. 

The messages, which Ms Sturgeon said were sent during the week of November 5 2017, also suggest Mr Salmond did not tell her he was to start hosting a show on Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today.

Asked about the undisclosed messages, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Around about the time I spoke to (Mr Salmond) about the Sky News query, I sent him a message on November 5 saying, ‘Hi, when you free to speak this morning?’. He replies saying ’10am’.

‘That’s when I asked him, ‘What is this Sky thing?’

‘I go back to him later that day to say, ‘Any developments?’

‘The next day, I say, ‘You free for a word?’

‘So I was setting up a conversation that I have told the parliamentary inquiry about, it’s hardly a big revelation.

‘Later that week, incidentally, I messaged him to say, ‘No wonder you didn’t want to tell me’. That’s just after I find out that he’s agreed to host a regular show on Russia Today, and it reflects my incredulity at that decision.

‘I think his response to me then makes an oblique reference to the Sky News query, so that may be what he’s talking about.’

Pressed as to why Mr Salmond could want these messages to be released to the parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of harassment complaints, Ms Sturgeon suggested the former first minister may want people to believe the allegations were ‘all a big conspiracy’ to deflect from his conduct.

‘I’m afraid that’s not the case, Ms Sturgeon said,

‘This is age-old here, that a man is accused of misconduct against women and often it’s a woman that ends up sitting answering for them,’ Ms Sturgeon said.

‘In a political sense, one of the worst things I faced was being confronted with the reality that my predecessor – my mentor of 30 years, somebody I considered a friend, closer to me than probably anybody outside my family – was facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct.

‘Every day I’ve tried to do the right thing and not cover it up, and I think the reason perhaps he is angry with me – and he clearly is angry with me – is that I didn’t cover it up.

‘I didn’t collude with him to make these allegations go away and perhaps that is at the root of why he is as annoyed as he appears to be.’

Mr Salmond was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault, attempted rape and indecent assault at the High Court in Edinburgh in March.

The court case followed a legal battle which saw him awarded more than £500,000 when the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled a Scottish Government investigation into his conduct was unlawful.

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