Jackie Baillie – who questioned Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday – revealed a plethora of failures from the Scottish Government which has slowed her ability to investigate. Ms Baillie claimed she has “never been so obstructed in 22 years” of political life than on the committee and was frustrated she could not get clear answers. While Ms Baillie praised the SNP leader’s performance, she warned that the First Minister’s testimony lacked detail.
Speaking to BBC’s Today programme, Ms Baillie said: “In the torrent of words that were exchanged over the eight hours, I’m not sure that in some areas where we needed quite specific detailed answers that we actually got them.”
Host Nick Robinson pushed the Labour MSP on this and said: “Would you tell us more about those areas and whether you have now all the background information that you need for a proper assessment of them?”
Ms Ballie added: “I mean that genuinely is part of the problem.
“And in my 22 years in the parliament, I have never been so obstructed and unable to do my job as I have been on this committee.
“And in part that’s down to the Scottish Government, we have consistently asked them for information which they say they will provide but we get it six months late.
“And in the case of legal advice, it’s taken two parliamentary votes and endless letters to try and get them to actually hand it over and they did at six o’clock, before the committee meeting.
“And that really is not acceptable, and I also have to say, surprisingly, it wasn’t all the legal advice that they were given.
“So, I’m really frustrated that we cannot ask the questions we need to ask about key bits of the process because the legal advice is still missing.”
Mr Robinson then asked: “Do you believe that they are not delivering it because they are covering up something that would potentially prove Alex Salmond’s claim which was that there was a wide conspiracy against him?”
Ms Baillie responded: “The legal advice isn’t likely to address the point of conspiracy, the legal advice is likely to tell us if the Scottish Government should have ceded the case earlier in the Court of Session.
“They were taken to court by Alex because of the unlawfulness of their harassment policy.
“That policy is laying on the shelf for two and a half years, unused since.
“So, the thing for me is that there are two women at the centre of this who came forward, who made complaints, and they have been comprehensively failed by the Scottish Government.”
During her evidence giving, Ms Sturgeon denied Alex Salmond’s claims there was a conspiracy against him.
She rejected suggestions she broke ministerial code by lying to parliament when she first heard about the claims against Mr Salmond.