Swinney Admits Salmond Legal Advice Raised Case “Reservations”

This morning, Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney wrote to the Salmond Inquiry committee of MSPs, formally committing to publishing the legal advice this afternoon. This is following Labour, the Lib Dems, Reform UK, and the Greens all backing the Scottish Tory no confidence motion against Swinney. Curiously his letter claims he has now determined that “the balance of public interest” now lies in publishing the documents he was withholding. Guido suspects his decision is rather more to do with saving his own skin…

Crucially Swinney admits in his letter that the advice did warn of proceeding with the case – at a cost of £500,000 – months before conceding the case:

“reservations were raised about the judicial review following the identification of the issue of prior contact with the complainers in late October”

Swinney went on to say that “Subject to completing the necessary legal notifications, in line with our statutory obligations, we aim to release the material to the Committee on Tuesday afternoon.” Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said his widely backed no confidence motion will stay on the table until all the advice is published. Guido awaits to see how much is [redacted]…

Read the letter in full below:

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Scottish Tories Lodge Motion of No Confidence in John Swinney

The Scottish Conservatives are lodging a motion of no confidence in Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who heads the Scottish Government’s response to the Holyrood inquiry. The motion will be withdrawn if Swinney publishes the legal advice received over Alex Salmond’s judicial review. Salmond claims the Scottish Government’s legal counsel told them that they were staring defeat in the face, and despite this they pushed ahead at a cost of £500,000 to Scottish taxpayers. They went on to lose a year later.

The Scottish Parliament has now on two occasions voted for the Scottish government to release the advice it received, if Swinney still refuses to publish the advice by this afternoon, the Scottish LibDems have said they will back the Conservatives’ motion, along with the Scottish Labour Party and Reform UK Scotland. If all the Scottish Greens back it too the motion will pass, as the SNP does not hold a majority in Holyrood.

Scottish Tories are racing to have the motion heard before Nicola Sturgeon’s committee showdown on Wednesday. It’s on a knife edge, as any minister on the receiving end of a no confidence motion must be given two days notice to prepare their defence…

UPDATE: The BBC is now reporting that the Scottish Green Party will back the no confidence vote unless Swinney hands over the advice to the Committee in full.

UPDATE II: Swinney has now said he will publish key legal advice tomorrow. The question now is how much will be held back or redacted. The SNP have form on the latter…

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SNP Appoint SNP Campaigner to Review SNP Exam Fiasco

The SNP’s Education Minister John Swinney announced this week in the Scottish Parliament, while apologising to children for mismanaging their exams, that he had appointed a Mark Priestley, an Education Professor at the University of Stirling, to lead a review into the fiasco and report back in just five weeks.

Priestley, who has an EU flag in his Twitter name, passionately campaigned for the SNP last year, repeatedly pleading with his followers to vote for the nationalist party “to stop Boris Johnson”, and sharing a video of the SNP’s Angus Robinson calling the Prime Minister a racist. SNP campaigners marking their own homework…

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