SNP civil war: Douglas Ross brands SNP ‘corrupt’ as Salmond inquiry tears Nats apart

Alex Salmond claims key evidence to inquiry ‘deliberately suppressed’

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The Scottish Conservative leader criticised the SNP as the former Scottish first minister gave evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government’s unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims against him. Mr Salmond made two submissions with bombshell claims to the inquiry claiming he was the victim of a “malicious and concerted” attempt by several people to see him removed from public life.

In a second submission, Mr Salmond accused Nicola Sturgeon of several breaches of the Scottish government’s ministerial code and lying to parliament over meetings between the pair in 2018 regarding harassment claims made against the former first minister.

Mr Salmond was cleared of 12 of the charges against him last year, while another was found not proven.

Ms Sturgeon has previously insisted there is “not a shred of evidence” that there was a conspiracy against Mr Salmond and she has denied lying to parliament.

Mr Ross claimed there was a “fair degree of political corruption now loose inside the higher echelons of the SNP”.

He also referred to comments made by former SNP depute leader Jim Sillars who said he would not be voting for the SNP at the current election over the handling of the Salmond inquiry.

The Scottish Conservative leader and Moray MP told Express.co.uk: “She [Nicola Sturgeon] must be looking at the fact that Jim Sillars says he cannot support the party he has been a member of throughout most of his adult life.

“What does that tell people who are not party political anoraks that a deputy leader of a party cannot bring himself to support the SNP?”

Mr Ross continued: “He can see the corruption that is going on within the government party at the moment.

“He [Mr Sillars] can see the sleaze that is taking down our politics in Scotland that is at the heart of this SNP government and he can see their 14 years of failure are coming home to roost.

“We are seeing it out with this whole scandal between personalities within the SNP.”

Mr Ross claimed Scotland’s public services were not being “well served” because of SNP priorities being elsewhere including the Holyrood inquiry.

The Scottish Tory leader continued: “Our education system has fallen down international rankings, we’re building hospitals in Scotland that can’t take any patients.

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“There are so many issues at the moment we should be focusing on right now, we’re not.”

Mr Ross later added the Holyrood inquiry was “running out of control” and risked tarnishing Scotland’s reputation on the world stage.

Speaking today, he said: “This is an internal party civil war that is running out of control, taking down our country with it.

“The SNP are dragging down the reputation of the Scottish parliament and our treasured institutions.

“I can only imagine what people abroad are thinking when they look to Scotland today and see the state of our nation.”

He concluded that scandals and sleaze were dominating the corridors of power at Holyrood.

Mr Ross made clear: “A great country split in two, increasingly divided against itself, broken apart by the SNP.

“A Scotland they don’t recognise, with leaders past and present who are not genuine, sincere or honest.

“The state of our nation is not healthy.”

Mr Salmond, who was acquitted of the 13 charges of sexual assault made against him, was awarded a £512,250 payout after he successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government investigation into harassment claims.

Ms Sturgeon is scheduled to appear before the committee to give evidence next Wednesday.

The SNP have been approached for comment. 

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