Scottish voters ‘dismayed’ at SNP infighting as ‘obsessive’ independence wish slammed

SNP: Robert Buckland says people ‘dismayed by on going saga’

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Nicola Sturgeon’s ongoing row with her predecessor Alex Salmond has engulfed Holyrood. The bitter feud between the once-close allies has been fueled by accusations that the Scottish government bungled handling of sexual harassment allegations against the former First Minister. But Ms Sturgeon has been warned the saga is causing “dismay” among Scottish voters who are alarmed the SNP “political intrigue” is taking attention away from the management of the pandemic. 

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News: “Clearly the political temperature in Holyrood is very high indeed and you have two of the biggest figures in Scottish politics falling out in a public spate

“But the question I ask this morning is the priorities of the people of Scotland are fighting the virus and trying to leave with it and get back to normal, along with the rest of the United Kingdom 

“I think they would be at best puzzled and at worst dismayed by this Constance political intrigue.

“Coming against the background of an obsessive wish by the SNP to call another independence or separation referendum.”

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Mr Buckland added: “Now those issues are clearly not in tune with the priorities of the people of Scotland,

“I am afraid it is showing a political establishment in Edinburgh which is increasingly out of touch with the reality of day to day life on the ground.”

The Lord Chancellor’s intervention comes as Mr Salmond prepares to give his long-awaited evidence to a Holyrood inquiry this afternoon.

The former SNP leader is expected to expand on his claims Ms Sturgeon repeatedly broke the ministerial code in her handling of sexual harassment complaints against him. 

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Mr Salmond also alleges the current First Minister misled parliament. She strongly denies both claims.

The former First Minister, who led the 2014 Scottish leave campaign, is expected to push his claim there was a “malicious and concerted” effort among senior Scottish government and SNP officials to damage his reputation.

He is also set to expand on his allegations against Ms Sturgeon, as she has said Mr Salmond has an “obligation” to present evidence.

Ms Sturgeon is due to give her own evidence on Wednesday.

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During First Minister’s Questions (FMQs), Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader, Ruth Davidson, said: “This sorry affair isn’t just tarnishing the First Minister’s reputation, it is damaging the institutions that it is her responsibility to uphold.”

The Tory told MSPs there was a “culture of secrets and cover-ups that is only growing and it is all taking place on Nicola Sturgeon’s watch”.

However, Ms Sturgeon hit back and said: “Alex Salmond claims that the name of a complainant was given. That is not the same thing as accepting that is the case.”

She insisted: “What is poisoning our democratic institutions, in my view, is politicians standing up and hurling assertions and accusations without a shred of evidence to back them up.”

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