Under pressure, Scotland's Sturgeon defends handling of predecessor's case



© Reuters. FM Sturgeon attends COVID-19 briefing in Edinburgh

LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, defended herself on Wednesday against accusations by her predecessor that she acted illegally in a row that could scupper her campaign to lead Scotland to independence.

Describing the feud with former first minister Alex Salmond as “one of the most invidious political and personal situations” she had ever faced, Sturgeon said she had behaved properly in dealing with sexual harassment allegations against him.

The feud between Sturgeon and Salmond has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, pitting the former friends against each other in a sparring match that has prompted calls by opposition lawmakers for the Scottish leader to resign.

The row stems from Sturgeon’s handling of the government’s response to sexual harassment complaints made by several women against Salmond and whether she misled parliament over the details of what she knew of the allegations and when she knew it.

At a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the case against Salmond, Sturgeon said she would give a detailed defence of her actions.

“I’ve never claimed in this or anything else to be infallible. I have searched my soul on all of this many, many times over. It may very well be that I didn’t get everything right, that’s for others to judge,” she told lawmakers.

“But in one of the most invidious political and personal situations I have ever faced, I believe I acted properly and appropriately, and overall, I made the best judgments I could. For anyone, at least anyone willing to listen with an open mind, that is what I will seek to demonstrate today.”

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In particular, she said she stood by a series of decisions that were made in relation to a judicial review which her government lost. “I will demonstrate that the decisions taken at each stage of it were legally sound,” she added.

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