‘AGONISED OVER EVERY DECISION’
NICOLA Sturgeon was pressed on why she had not immediately reported her meeting with Alex Salmond, when he told her about the complaint, to civil servants.
She said she feared if she had done this she would have “compromised the independence, and the privacy, the confidentiality, of the process”.
The First Minister said: “I have agonised over every decision and every step I took in this process. I have searched my soul on this on a personal level, a political level, a government level.
“On that particular decision I did not intervene, I did not try influence this process. If I had picked up the phone or told the civil service I knew, my worry was that that act in itself might have been influencing the process because suddenly you have got civil servants thinking, even just subliminally, thinking ‘what does she think we should be doing about this?’.”
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, she added: “Before this year I would have said this was the most difficult set of decisions I have ever had to take.
“I think after this year that is probably not the case. But the personal, political, governmental nature of all of this made this a really invidious situation.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “I don’t say that to ask for a free pass, you expect first ministers to deal with difficult situations properly. But the combination of all of this was horrendously difficult, and I tried to reach the best judgments.”
Labour’s Jackie Ballie said: “You met Alex Salmond on April 2, messages exchanged on June 1 and 3. Giving what you are saying about his behaviour, why did you keep meeting him?”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “I still felt, despite everything, a loyalty to him and that’s why I made these decisions.
“The thing I was absolutely adamant about is I would not try to influence this process in the way he wanted me to because I felt that was inappropriate.”
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