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I will not be bullied out of office, Sturgeon tells Tories as she beats vote

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Scotland’s First Minister has said she would have resigned had she been found to have broken the ministerial code, but said she would not be “bullied” out of her position as she defeated an attempt to oust her.

Nicola Sturgeon faced a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, brought by the Scottish Tories, who claim she misled parliament and ignored legal advice.

But the vote fell by 65 votes to 31 with 27 abstentions.

James Hamilton, the independent advisor on the ministerial code, cleared the First Minister on Monday of a breach of the code, but a cross-party committee set up to look into the botched handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond voted by majority to conclude she misled parliament.

Ruth Davidson in Holyrood / PA Wire

Speaking in the debate on the motion, the First Minister said had the Hamilton inquiry gone the other way, she would have quit.

“Had Mr Hamilton’s report gone the other way, I would have accepted it, had he found that I had breached the code in anything other than the most technical and immaterial of ways, I would have been standing here right now tendering my resignation,” she said.

“The integrity of the office I am so privileged to hold really does matter to me.

“The office of First Minister is more important than any temporary incumbent of it.”

The First Minister also told the Tories: “If you think you can bully me out of office, you are mistaken and you misjudge me.

If you want to remove me as First Minister do it in an election

“If you want to remove me as First Minister do it in an election.”

She added: “If today’s desperate political stunt proves anything, it is that you have no confidence whatsoever in your ability to do so, because you have nothing positive to offer the Scottish people.”

Scottish Tory Holyrood leader, Ruth Davidson said the First Minister had been found to have misled parliament and the “honourable” thing to do after the publication of Tuesday’s report would be to step down.

“After all that evidence-gathering and deliberation, the committee found that Nicola Sturgeon misled this parliament, nothing can erase that fact, however inconvenient it is to the First Minister and her supporters,” she said.

“And let’s remember, that by misleading this Scottish Parliament, she misled the people of Scotland too.

“No First Minister who truly wanted to live up to the ideals of this parliament should feel able to continue in post after having been judged guilty of misleading it.

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