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Alex Salmond inquiry: Key issues surrounding Peter Murrell’s return to Scottish Parliament committee on Monday

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell is expected to give evidence at a Scottish Parliament committee on Monday.

This will mark Mr Murrell’s second appearance at the committee, after Conservatives raised concerns about the evidence he gave.

Two weeks ago, the Crown Office confirmed it had handed over “material” to the committee following a request from its members.

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MSPs on the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints were asked to consider whether there is a public interest in releasing the documents.

Mr Murrell has been chief executive of the SNP since 1999, when he took over the role from Michael Russell.

He had previously worked in the Banff and Buchan constituency office of the former first minister, Alex Salmond.

In July 2010, Mr Murrell married then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell .
SNP chief executive Peter Murrell .

Mr Murrell had previously appeared in front of the committee in December.

During this appearance, convener Linda Fabiani had sought answers about a meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond at her Glasgow home on April 2 2018, where the First Minister was told by her predecessor of complaints of harassment made against him.

In his evidence, Mr Murrell initially said he did not know in advance about the meeting.

But later in the session, he contradicted himself by saying he was aware the previous day of Mr Salmond coming to the couple’s house – the first time he had visited since the 2017 general election campaign.

He also claimed in his written and oral evidence that he was not at home when the meeting took place, but again appeared to contradict himself by saying he arrived back “not long before the meeting ended”.

Concerns were raised over the contradictions Mr Murrell allegedly gave.

This led to the the Scottish Conservatives saying they would trigger a vote on whether Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament if he did not re-appear and clarify his comments.

On Monday morning, the Scottish Parliament said Mr Salmond had not confirmed that he would appear, and therefore the evidence hearing would not go ahead.

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “Mr Salmond has not confirmed that he will attend the committee meeting on Tuesday and he has raised a number of issues for clarification. Tuesday’s evidence session will therefore not go ahead.

“Mr Salmond had been contacted to make it clear that he can speak freely in committee about all of his contact with Nicola Sturgeon and his views on her actions.

“He was given the opportunity to make a lengthy opening statement on Tuesday and would have had four hours to answer questions in public. He was also invited to send more written evidence for publication after the meeting.

“The committee has already published two lengthy submissions from Mr Salmond and many, many pages of records and documents from him that he has been invited to speak freely about in Parliament on Tuesday. All of this written and oral evidence could then be reflected in the committee’s report.

“The committee continues to communicate with Mr Salmond’s representatives.”

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The Scotsman

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News.

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