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HomeLive StreamNicola Sturgeon defends chief of staff after ‘interference’ claim

Nicola Sturgeon defends chief of staff after ‘interference’ claim

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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she “refutes” claims that her chief of staff Liz Lloyd interfered in the investigation of Alex Salmond

Using parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons, Conservative MP David Davis read out messages that he suggested showed a “concerted effort by senior members of the SNP to encourage complaints” against the former first minister.

According to Mr Davis, the messages disclosed by a whistleblower “demands serious investigation”, with one alleging the investigating officer in the case complained of interference by Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff.

The message is alleged to have been sent by Judith Mackinnon to the Government’s communications director on February 6 2018, almost two months before the First Minister claims to have first known about the investigation of her predecessor.

I strongly refute the suggestions and insinuations of David Davis in the House of Commons last night

Mr Davis said: “The investigating officer complained ‘Liz interference v bad’ – I assume that means very bad.

“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 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?”

Challenged about the claims during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon insisted she has confidence in her chief of staff and she “strongly” denies the allegations.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Other than to say that I strongly refute [sic] the suggestions and insinuations of David Davis in the House of Commons last night, I am not going to have this Covid briefing sidetracked by the latest instalment of Alex Salmond’s conspiracy theory.

“I have given eight hours of evidence to the parliamentary committee looking into this.

“They are now able to assess all of the evidence they’ve taken, including, I’m sure, the evidence they have in relation to the suggestions and claims made by David Davis last night.

Brexit / PA Archive

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