Podcast: Charges under ministerial code difficult to stick

The Herald headline today reads:

How does Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence relate to the ministerial code? Legal expert shares analysis.

How’s that for hiding the story?

Anyhow, first, the author Doctor Nick McKerrell makes clear that the problems with the Scottish Government’s ‘catastrophic’ handling of the complaints against Alex Salmond was down to the involvement of the civil servant whom the First Minister, as is proper, did not instruct.

Second, the legal advice did not suggest a ‘doomed case‘ at any point and was followed by the First Minister.

McKerrell notes the First Minister correctly making the point that the Scottish Government had previously pursued the case for minimum pricing in the public interest, against a well-funded legal challenge and had won.

He concludes:

Alongside the more balanced reading of the legal advice, it would suggest that it is difficult to say that the Scottish Government blundered recklessly into the defeat of the court action in January 2019.

So the charges under the ministerial code would be difficult to stick and this explains the confident rebuttal by Nicola Sturgeon.

3 thoughts on “Podcast: Charges under ministerial code difficult to stick

  1. Alex Salmond did not do it. He was stitched up be liars. Liars who he promoted. He is not perfect in every way but did not deserve in any way to be treated like that. He was throw under a bus by people he promoted. It will be sorted out within the Party. Without a doubt.

    Vote SNP/SNP. Vote for Independence. Leaders come and leaders go but Independence is forever.

    Alex Salmond can still have a good career. He has huge support.


    1. I have the greatest respect for Alex Salmond, and dont think he deserved what shit-show. But people now need to move on.
      Salmond has “huge support”? I dont know how much support he now commands, but I would like to see him call a truce, front up a new independence party, and stand on the list to enhance the YES majority in Holyrood. He need never talk to Sturgeon/Murrell ever again.
      There are obviously questions unanswered and enmities that will last a lifetime, but the important thing is independence, not personalities.

      YouGov has a poll out in Wales, that suggest 31% would vote for independence “tomorrow”, and that rises to 41% if Wales could remain in the EU. Great stuff!
      Suck It Up Union Unit!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. John, I take your point that the problems with the Scottish Government’s case leading up to the Judicial Review were not seen as being as serious as Ruth Davidson tries hard to make out, and became more serious as time went on to the point where the only course of action – given their case was “ustateable” – was to concede at the last minute.
    What I dont get is with the FM being a lawyer – and I think she said at one point in her evidence to the committee that she often looks over documents as a lawyer would (you take the girl out of law, but not law ….). Why then did she not notice at an earlier stage that the Investigating Officer certainly having hads contact with at least one complainant, and I “think” her Principal Civil Servant also have contact prior to a final decision being taken – by the Principal Civil Servant, had in terms of Natural Justice (not a difficult legal concept!) excluded themselves both from investigation and decision roles? This is a basic consideration, and I am surprised the FM didnt notice. I am fairly sure there were others who could have easily have fulfilled those roles.


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