Scottish Conservatives to push ahead with no confidence vote in Swinney

The vote will be held next week subject to the decision of the Scottish Parliament bureau.

Scottish Conservatives to push ahead with no confidence vote in Swinney

The Scottish Conservatives said a vote of no confidence in John Swinney is to go ahead “on Tuesday or Wednesday”.

The Tories submitted a motion of no confidence in the Deputy First Minister last week over the Scottish Government’s refusal to hand over legal advice.

The advice related to Alex Salmond’s successful legal challenge of the government’s harassment complaints procedure, which led to the former first minister being awarded more than £500,000.

The proposed vote prompted the Scottish Government to release the legal advice in stages.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross said Mr Swinney’s “position has become untenable”.

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross criticised the Deputy First Minister (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Ross said the Deputy First Minister “manipulated the flow of information”.

“He claimed that the documents showed the government did not ignore advice from counsel, which was contradicted by the very documents he published,” he said.

“John Swinney’s position has become untenable. He has disrespected the Scottish Parliament repeatedly, blatantly withheld evidence from a parliamentary inquiry and tried to mislead the public.

“He has had more than enough chances to be transparent but his actions are getting more murkier and inexcusable as the weeks go on.”

He added: “We are proceeding with the vote of no confidence.

“I urge all opposition parties to support it to uphold the reputation of the Scottish Parliament and to ensure that, in future, votes of the Parliament are respected by the Scottish Government.”

First Minister’s Questions
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

“There have been thousands of documents handed over to the committee including legal documents. The FM spent an entire day at committee answering detailed questions and many more hours at FMQs. Every question has been answered.

“When are Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Matt Hancock and others going to face even an iota of this kind of scrutiny over misleading Westminster and MPs from the parliament that Douglas Ross actually sits in?

“This is really desperate stuff from the Scottish Tories who believe there should be different rules for their political masters in London.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As the Deputy First Minister has made very clear, given the exceptional circumstances in which the integrity of the Government, Parliament and other key institutions were being challenged, we have taken unprecedented steps to provide the committee with the information it has requested in line with data protection, confidentiality and legal restrictions – and we have released a huge amount of documentation including legal advice documents.”

He added: “We have now disclosed all of the formal written advice notes received from external counsel during the judicial review, as well as a number of other relevant previously legally privileged documents

“As the Deputy First Minister has set out, these documents, taken in their entirety, utterly disprove the conspiracy theory that the Scottish Government delayed the concession of the judicial review or ignored advice from counsel.

“The information in the documents is consistent with information already shared with the committee in evidence.”

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