In an extraordinary interview on Sky News, SNP MP Ian Blackford accused presenter Niall Paterson of an attempted “hatchet job” as he dodged questions on Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP MP failed to respond to questions put to him by the presenter regarding the Holyrood committee findings that Ms Sturgeon misled Parliament during the investigation into Alex Salmond’s harassment inquiry. The First Minister was found to have misled Parliament by the committee investigating Ms Sturgeon but an independent inquiry by top QC James Hamilton let her off the hook.
In the chaotic interview, Mr Blackford was asked by presenter Niall Paterson if he accepts the “committees findings” that Nicola Sturgeon “misled Parliament.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader dodged the question twice and brought attention to the independent James Hamilton report which has cleared Sturgeon of misleading Holyrood.
Frustrated at the question dodging, Mr Paterson said: “I’m sorry Mr Blackford can you answer the question, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” adding “it’s pretty straight forward.”
Tensions then rose as it was clear Mr Blackford was not going to give a comment regarding the committee findings.
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But in an astonishing rebuttal, Mr Blackford turned kicked back and accused Mr Paterson of a hatchet job on live TV.
He said: “I can see what you’re trying to do and of course I did hear you speaking to your studio as I was waiting I come on that you were going to give me a kicking.
“So it’s quite clear what’s happening here!”
Looking visibly shocked by the Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP’s accusations, Mr Paterson denied that was his intentions saying: “No, that’s not what I said!”
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The Committee said in their report that Ms Sturgeon’s written evidence was “an inaccurate account of what happened, and she has misled the Committee on this matter” over when she first knew about Harassment Complaints against the former Scottish First Minister.
The report stated: “The Committee notes that there is a fundamental contradiction in the evidence in relation to whether, at the meeting on 2 April 2018, the First Minister did or did not agree to intervene.
“Taking account of the competing versions of events, the Committee believes that she did in fact leave Mr Salmond with the impression that she would, if necessary, intervene.”
The Committee said it was a “potential breach of the Ministerial Code under the terms of section 1.3.”
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Ms Sturgeon previously said she had been told about the allegations by Mr Salmond himself during a meeting in her home on April 2, 2018.
She instructed top QC James Hamilton, who is Irish, to independently investigate the case.
His report which came out yesterday said the First Minister did not knowingly break the Ministerial Code.
Sturgeon is hoping she can move on from the case and focus on the upcoming Scottish elections on 6th May.