Made in the First Minister’s Office

The first piece of evidence came out at the Holyrood Inquiry today which I have known for the last year but had not been allowed to tell you.

The drafting of the new complaints procedure so that it could be used to fit up Alex Salmond was NOT a unionist scheme hatched in Whitehall and implemented by Leslie Evans, a UK civil servant. I have seen fellow SNP members give themselve false comfort with the idea it was Whitehall and not Nicola; I have tried gently to explain they are wrong, without ever being able to produce the evidence, although I had it.

This is the first morsel of a very great deal of evidence that is going to come out.

The adoption of a new complaints procedure that permitted retrospective complaints against former ministers was in fact cooked up between Leslie Evans and Nicola Sturgeon. LONDON ADVISED AGAINST IT. The Cabinet Office strongly advised that it would be “unwise” to allow retrospective action against ex-ministers. Nicola and Evans decided to plough ahead and implement the policy against London’s advice. They must have had a strong motive for that. Evans denied today that the policy was designed against Alex Salmond. I certainly do not believe her, and there is much more to come.

This is the evidence of Leslie Evans that confirmed this today. As I say, I had known this a long while but was not able to reveal it as I was pledged to confidence. The emails before the committee show indisputably in writing the Cabinet Office advice against the retrospective complaints policy. This is the first piece in a jigsaw, but it is a key piece. I have seen enough other pieces, too, to have no doubt at all of the final picture.

I cannot tell you how desperately I wish all of this was not true. I cannot tell you how desperately I wish the plot against Alex Salmond had indeed all been made in Whitehall. I cannot tell you how much I have hated the fact that my knowledge of Nicola’s plot against Alex has alienated me from so many fellow SNP members I worked alongside during the 2014 campaign. I do hope that scales are at least beginning now to drop from some eyes.

Put this together with Nicola’s insistence there can be no Independence without a referendum, and there must be no referendum without Westminster permission and a S30 order. Put this together with Nicola’s insistence that even discussion of Independence is off the agenda until after Covid and its economic consequences are past. Put this together with the NEC blocking of Joanna Cherry – which Sturgeon and Murrell were definitely behind. Put this together, if I may, with the attempt to jail me for writing this blog.

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