Alex Neil told the BBC’s Today Programme that it would be tragic if the SNP’s 2021 Scottish Parliament election campaign is dominated by the Alex Salmond inquiry. The inquiry centres around the handling of sexual harassment allegations made against the former SNP leader Mr Salmond.
Mr Neil said: “Hopefully, once it is all out in the open, people can make up their minds on if there was a conspiracy and if there was who was involved in it and what action should be taken.
“Let’s see if we can get a line drawn under this before we get into the election campaign proper.
“It would be tragic for everybody if the election campaign was dominated by this one issue.”
Nick Robinson, the Today Programme host, asked: “If Alex Salmond is right in his claims, Nicola Sturgeon would be forced to quit, wouldn’t she?”
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The SNP MSP replied: “Well it depends, there is a separate investigation going on into allegations of breaching ministerial code.”
Mr Robinson continued to press: “But if he is right that she was guilty of a terrible conspiracy, she would have to quit wouldn’t she?”
Mr Neil responded: “If it was proven there was a conspiracy, everybody involved in the conspiracy would be getting their jotters.”
The Today Programme host added: “If your Scottish is not that fluent, getting your jotters means getting the sack.”
“And whether legal authorities in Scotland have been involved in the proper ways.”
Mr Salmond was accused of sexual harassment and was subject to a Government investigation.
He was later awarded £500,000 by the Scottish High Court after the Government admitted they acted unlawfully when they were investigating those claims of sexual harassment.
Mr Salmond was cleared of all charges and the inquiry is now looking at what went wrong and is focusing on the role Nicola Sturgeon and other SNP members played in handling the case.