Nicola Sturgeon's husband 'should be investigated for possible perjury', Scottish Labour claims

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Dan Sanderson
·3 min read
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Peter Murrell takes his oath ahead of giving evidence in the Scottish Parliament -  POOL/Reuters
Peter Murrell takes his oath ahead of giving evidence in the Scottish Parliament - POOL/Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon's husband should be investigated for possible perjury over sworn evidence he gave to the Alex Salmond inquiry, the interim Scottish Labour leader has said.

Peter Murrell, who is also the SNP’s chief executive, is facing questions over the existence of messages to other party officials related to the criminal probe that Mr Salmond faced.

When he gave evidence to the Holyrood inquiry under oath last month, Mr Murrell said there were no other messages between himself and party officials about Mr Salmond, other than an exchange in which he spoke about pressure being applied to police to investigate the former party leader.

However, Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP who questioned Mr Murrell, said information had been seen by the committee to suggest he had “not been truthful”.

The Holyrood inquiry into a botched civil service probe into sexual harassment allegations against Mr Salmond took the unusual step of requiring witnesses to give evidence under oath. Giving false evidence could attract a five-year prison sentence.

The committee last week invoked a legal power, which has never before been used, in an attempt to have Scottish prosecutors turn over evidence they obtained during the criminal investigation into Mr Salmond, which his allies claim will fuel claims of a conspiracy.

Scottish Labour said it believed “other messages are currently being held by the Crown Office” and that the legal order, which has not yet been responded to, would allow MSPs to obtain them.

Jackie Baillie, the interim Scottish Labour leader - Jane Barlow/PA
Jackie Baillie, the interim Scottish Labour leader - Jane Barlow/PA

Ms Baillie said: “Mr Murrell’s testimony is clearly at odds with the facts as they have been presented to the committee.

“We need an immediate investigation into the possibility that Mr Murrell committed perjury, which is a serious criminal offence.

“The committee has faced obstruction and obfuscation at every turn - this must end. It’s time for justice to be done and for those who have sought to obstruct the committee to be held to account.”

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory MSP, said Mr Murrell "has serious questions to answer".

He added: “The Crown Office must urgently investigate the SNP chief executive's evidence in order to guarantee that this committee was presented with a true version of events."

Mr Murrell, who married Ms Sturgeon in 2010, had already been invited to give evidence to the inquiry for a second time.

Mr Salmond successfully challenged the legality of the civil service probe in court and was cleared of all charges following a separate criminal investigation.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The correspondence will be responded to in due course.”

The SNP was approached for comment.