A Tory MP yesterday revealed explosive messages which suggest Nicola Sturgeon‘s chief of staff was ‘interfering’ in the complaints process about the Alex Salmond case.
David Davis used parliamentary privilege to reveal messages which indicate Miss Sturgeon’s chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, knew about complaints in February 2018 – two months before the First Minister said she was told about them.
He also said that a whistleblower passed him messages between senior SNP officials, including Miss Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell, which Mr Davis said suggest a ‘concerted effort’ to encourage complaints about the former First Minister.
David Davis (pictured in the Commons) used parliamentary privilege to reveal messages which indicate Miss Sturgeon’s chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, knew about complaints in February 2018 – two months before the First Minister said she was told about them
In an astonishing intervention in the House of Commons, the former Brexit secretary said he has it ‘on good authority’ there is an exchange of messages from February 6, 2018, between Judith Mackinnon, who carried out the investigation into the complaints about Mr Salmond, and senior government official Barbara Allison ‘suggesting that the First Minister’s chief of staff is interfering in the complaints process against Alex Salmond’.
He said the investigating officer said in one message that ‘this interference v bad’.
Mr Davis said: ‘If true, this suggests the chief of staff had knowledge of the Salmond case in February, not in April, as she has claimed on oath.
‘The First Minister also tied herself in [to] that April date in both parliamentary and legal statements. She was of course aware earlier than that. The question is, just how aware and how much earlier?’
Mr Davis said he was passed papers from an anonymous whistleblower, including a download of text messages from Sue Ruddick, chief operating officer of the SNP, which is held by police.
Former Scottish National Party leader and former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond is sworn in before giving evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee at Holyrood
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives to give evidence to The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints at Holyrood in Edinburgh
He said the whistleblower told him the messages ‘point to collusion, perjury, up to criminal conspiracy’.
Mr Davis referred to one message from September 28, 2018, a month after police started their investigation, in which SNP compliance officer Ian McCann expressed disappointment to Miss Ruddick that someone who had ‘promised to deliver five complainants… by the end of that week had come up empty, or overreached as he put it’.
Referring to another message on the day after the Scottish Government’s judicial review case collapsed in January 2019, he said Miss Ruddick expressed to Mr McCann the hope one of the complainants ‘would be sickened enough to get back in the game again’.
He said Miss Ruddick was nervous about her name coming out as someone ‘fishing’ for people to come forward.
Mr Davis also referred to Mr Murrell’s messages saying it was a good time to be ‘pressurising’ police. He said Mr Murrell told the inquiry these messages ‘were “quite out of character”. That is no defence even were it true’.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: ‘Every message involving SNP staff has been seen by the committee previously. Their views have been widely reported as dismissive of them.’
On comments regarding the chief of staff, the spokesman added: ‘The comment read out by Mr Davis in relation to the chief of staff does not relate to Ms A or Ms B and, at that time, she was not aware that there was any connection to the former First Minister.’