Liam Fox issues warning over Alex Salmond controversy
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Tory MP Dr Liam Fox revealed his concerns surrounding the ongoing controversy between former First Minister Alex Salmond and current Nicola Sturgeon. While speaking in the House of Commons, he asked the Deputy House of Commons Speaker, Dame Eleanor Laing what measures could be taken to protect the reputation of UK politics. The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints from Mr Salmond were “unlawful” in a judicial review.
This resulted in £512,250 in legal costs being paid out to Mr Salmond’s lawyers.
This resulted in the forming of the Scottish Government’s Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee.
Mr Salmond was separately acquitted of all 13 charges including sexual assault, attempted rape and indecent assault following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last year.
Speaking about the fiasco, Dr Liam Fox told the House of Commons: “Yesterday, the former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond made an accusation at the Scottish Government.
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“He accused them of a complete breakdown of the necessary barriers that should exist between Government, political party and the prosecution authorities of any country that abides by the rule of law.
“This would be a damning indictment in a tinpot dictatorship but this is happening in a part of the United Kingdom.”
Dr Fox noted what impact this could have on the entire United Kingdom and why he was concerned.
He said: “Given that the Scottish Parliament derives its authority from legislation passed in this Parliament what mechanism do we have to ensure that the conduct of the Scottish Government does not bring politics in the whole United Kingdom into national disrepute.”
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The Deputy House Speaker replied: “The right honourable member has raised some significant issues concerning the relationship between the legislature, the executive and the courts.
“That is the doctrine known as the separation of powers which is the very bedrock of our constitutional settlement.
“It is not of course for the occupant of the chair to make any judgement about what the right honourable gentleman has specifically said but this House is of course always concerned safeguarding democratic standards.
“I am sure the right honourable gentleman will use his ingenuity to find a way to bring this matter once again before the House when it can be fully examined.”
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During the daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon was forced to ask questions regarding Alex Salmond.
She was asked to discuss the allegations from Mr Salmond that the Crown Office withheld evidence during a court battle that saw the former SNP leader acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault last March.
She answered: “The decision about what the Scottish Parliament publishes and however it publishes whatever it publishes in compliance with the law are matters for the parliament, the corporate body, I am not party to these discussions.
“I the decisions the Crown Office takes in relation to enforcing or upholding the law, and this relates specifically to your question, are taken independently by the Crown Office independently from Government.
“Any suggestions, any suggestion at all that these decisions are in any way politically influenced are downright wrong.”
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