Tag Archives: salmond enquiry

Willie Rennie: Why Lib Dems abstained on Sturgeon no-confidence vote

Scottish Liberal Democrats abstained on the no-confidence vote on Nicola Sturgeon today, along with Scottish Labour.

Willie explains why here:

The tl:dr version is that of course the First Minister and the government she leads screwed up badly in its handling of the complaints of the two women but we weren’t going to get involved in Tory game playing. They first mooted a vote of no confidence before Nicola Sturgeon even gave evidence to the parliamentary enquiry into the situation.

Willie took the right decision here. What this unfortunate situation needs is considered and careful action to restore faith in the Scottish Government’s complaints sytem, not high adrenaline political drama.

Willie went into more detail in his speech during the debate on the motion:

Scottish politics today does not look pretty, with talk of lynching and assassination; the leaking of the private evidence of complainants; the lodging of motions of no confidence even before all the evidence has been heard; the attacking of a committee because it does not agree with the First Minister; the lauding of the performance of Nicola Sturgeon because she talked to a committee for eight hours—as if the show is more important than the facts; and the boasting about recruiting new members on the back of this tragedy. No one wins from this ugly episode—not the First Minister, not Douglas Ross and certainly not Alex Salmond, who has been exposed for what he really is.

We know who has been failed: the women who complained. When they stepped up, we were not there for them. In the committee’s report, which was published today, one woman tells how she and her fellow complainer were dropped by the Scottish Government and left to swim.

There are unresolved issues that I wish to explore today, so we would have voted for the amendment in the name of Anas Sarwar, if it had been selected.

The Conservatives have shown themselves to be interested only in removing Nicola Sturgeon from office rather than in the facts of this terrible series of events. They have undermined the integrity of the independent investigator. However, even the most ardent SNP supporter must recognise that the women who complained were let down by the Government and that £500,000 was wasted on defending the indefensible in court.

We know that the Government will win today, because it has the unconditional support of the Green Party, but this debate and vote cannot be the end of the matter. In his summing up, therefore, I would like the Deputy First Minister to tell us where this goes from here.

First, how does he explain why James Hamilton was unable to conclude whether the First Minister misled Parliament over whether she offered to help Alex Salmond when they met in her home? James Hamilton says that it is up to the Parliament to determine whether it was misled on that issue. We need an adequate explanation from the Deputy First Minister.

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