On Friday we withdrew the award offer, which had not been taken up. To be honest I was 99.9999% sure it would not be, and we don’t have £25,000. It was a rhetorical device trying to drive home to people the crucial importance of Geoff Aberdein’s evidence, which proves that Sturgeon knew of the allegations not days but at least three weeks before she knew, and that she knowingly lied to parliament.
Sturgeon compounded that lie by a further lie to parliament. When knowledge of Geoff Aberdein’s meeting with her on 29 March 2018 in Holyrood became public, Sturgeon tried to cover up by a now really elaborate lie about how that meeting was spontaneous after he had just called into parliament to meet somebody else. In fact Aberdein’s testimony – with witnesses cited – shows the meeting with Sturgeon was pre-arranged weeks before, specifically to discuss the allegations against Salmond.
So what lie will Nicola now use at the committee on Wednesday? The only lie I can see available to her is that her Chief of Staff knew of the allegations for weeks without telling her, and even set up meetings for Sturgeon to discuss the allegations, without telling Sturgeon about the allegations. That would be a lie, and it seems to me so wildly improbable that I don’t see how even such despicable creatures as Alasdair Allan and Maureen Watt could possibly claim to believe it.
The Sunday Times now has the Aberdein evidence and has fairly grasped its significance. This is a classic example of mainstream media catching up with a major story which I broke, in detail, a year ago.
I should say that I am really depressed by the astonishing output of Sturgeon loyalists on twitter stating “there is no evidence” as a mantra, when plainly there is a mountain of evidence, and overwhelming evidence that still more has been deceitfully hidden by the Scottish government with the collusion of the Crown Office, and of SNP committee members.
This website is offering a reward of £25,000 cash to help a public spirited whistleblower to come forward and reveal a copy of Geoff Aberdein’s evidence to the Sturgeon Inquiry, which the Committee of Crooks has refused to publish, accept or consider, because it categorically proves that Sturgeon lied to Parliament.
You work in the Crown Office. Did you really do all that studying and jump through all those hoops so you could aid and abet your ultra corrupt bosses in the fundamental suppression of both justice and democracy in Scotland? Did you never have any ideals of, at least, basic honesty when you started to work for the prosecutorial service?
Or you work for the Scottish Parliament. Did you never have a spring in your step at the thought you were enabling the democratic expression of the Scottish nation? As opposed to assisting the withholding of crucial information from both Parliament and from the Scottish people? Do you really want to be a part of making your parliament the most corrupted institution in Europe?
Set the truth free. Get to sleep easy at night again. Look your grandchildren in the eye one day when you advise them to live as honest people. As a whistleblower myself, I assure you there is life after whistleblowing, and our small reward will help you mitigate the risks or ease the transition to a more honest career. Release the testimony of Geoff Aberdein. You can reach me via the contact button top right.
Having published Alex Salmond’s redacted evidence yesterday, the Holyrood Parliament then redacted heavily a key part of it – the Submission on the Ministerial Code – and republished it in this redacted form. This has caused Alex Salmond to refuse to appear before the Committee. The point is that he would not be permitted to give evidence that touches on the redacted parts, and nor would any other witness. The committee would not be allowed in its final report to include information on the redacted parts.
Why does this matter? Because the redacted parts are nothing whatsoever to do with identification of Salmond’s false accusers (the corrupt Crown Office and SNP MSP’s excuse for blocking publication), but in truth are all about showing that Sturgeon lied to Parliament about when she first knew of the allegations against Salmond.
This is very easy proven, simply by publishing this now officially redacted submission in full, with the redactions outlined in bold.
Submission by Alex Salmond – Phase 4 – Ministerial Code
1. This is a submission to the Parliamentary Committee under Phase Four of the Inquiry. This submission is compliant with all legal obligations under the committee’s approach to evidence handling and takes full account of the Opinion of Lady Dorrian in the High Court as published on 16th February 2021.
All WhatsApp messages between myself and the First Minister referred to in this submission, have previously been provided to the Parliamentary Committee by the First Minister and published by the Committee.
The Terms of Reference
2. Mr Hamilton, the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, wrote to me on 8th September, 29th October, 16th November, 4th and 19th December. I replied on 6th and 17th October, 23rd November and 23rd December. I finally agreed under some protest to make a written submission.
The reason for my concern was that the remit drawn up for Mr Hamilton focuses on whether the First Minister intervened in a civil service process. As I have pointed out to Mr Hamilton, I know of no provisions in the Ministerial Code which makes it improper for a First Minister to so intervene.
3. To the contrary, intervention by the First Minister in an apparently unlawful process (subsequently confirmed by the Court of Session) would not constitute a breach precisely because the First Minister is under a duty in clause 2.30 of the Ministerial Code to avoid such illegality on the part of the Government she leads.
4. Further, to suggest intervention was a breach would be to ignore and contradict the express reliance of the procedure on the position of the First Minister as the leader of the party to which the former minister was a member in order to administer some unspecified sanction.
5. It will accordingly be a significant surprise if any breach of the Ministerial Code is found when the terms of reference have been tightly drafted by the
Deputy First Minister to focus on that aspect of the First Minister’s conduct.
6. By contrast, I have information which suggests other related breaches of the Ministerial Code which should properly be examined by Mr Hamilton. I have
asked that he undertake that investigation. I have drawn his attention to the apparent parliamentary assurance from the First Minister on 29th October 2020 that there was no restriction on Mr Hamilton preventing him from doing so.
7. Mr Hamilton has failed to give me a clear response as to whether these related matters relevant to the Ministerial Code, but outwith the specific remit, are going to be considered. However, in his letter of 4th December he did indicate that he was inclined to the view that such matters could be considered and will take into account arguments for their inclusion. Since that time I understand members of the Committee have received further assurances. It is on that basis I make this submission.
8. In doing so, I would note that it does not serve the public interest if the independent process of examination of the Ministerial Code (which I introduced as First Minister) is predetermined, or seen to be predetermined, by a restrictive remit given by the Deputy First Minister.
9. A restricted investigation would not achieve its purpose of genuine independent determination and would undermine confidence in what has been a useful innovation in public accountability.
10. I would accordingly urge Mr Hamilton to embrace the independence of his role and the express assurance given to the Scottish Parliament by the First Minister that he is free to expand the original remit drafted by the Deputy First Minister and to address each of the matters contained in this submission.
Breaches of the Ministerial Code.
11. Beyond the terms of the remit set for Mr Hamilton by the Deputy First Minister, there are other aspects of the conduct of the First Minister which, in my submission, require scrutiny and determination in relation to breaches of the Ministerial Code.
12. I was contacted by phone on or around 9 March 2018 and further the following week by Geoff Aberdein, my former Chief of Staff. The purpose of the contact was to tell me about meetings he had held with the First Minister’s Chief of Staff, Liz Lloyd, at her request.
13. In the second of these meetings she had informed him that she was aware of two complaints concerning me under a new complaints process introduced to include former Ministers. She named one of the complainers to him. At that stage I did not know the identity of the other complainer.
14. On receipt of the letter from the Permanent Secretary first informing me of complaints on 7th March 2018 I had secured Levy and McRae as my solicitors and Duncan Hamilton, Advocate and Ronnie Clancy QC as my counsel.
15. Even at this early stage we had identified that there were a range of serious deficiencies in the procedure. There was no public or parliamentary record of it
ever being adopted. In addition it contained many aspects of both procedural unfairness and substantive illegality. There was an obvious and immediate question over the respect to which the Scottish Government even had jurisdiction to consider the complaints. In relation to former Ministers (in contrast to current Ministers) it offered no opportunity for mediation. The complaints procedure of which I was familiar (‘Fairness at Work’) was based on the legislative foundation of the Ministerial Code in which the First Minister was the final decision maker. I wished to bring all of these matters to the attention of the First Minister. I did not know at that stage the degree of knowledge and involvement in the policy on the part of both the First Minister and her Chief of Staff.
16. Mr Aberdein had been asked by Ms Lloyd to be her contact with me and they jointly arranged a meeting with the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament on 29th March 2018. This meeting was for the purpose of discussing the complaints and thereafter arranging a direct meeting between myself and the First Minister. There was never the slightest doubt what the meeting was about. Any suggestion by the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament (Official Report, 8th October 2020) that the meeting was ‘fleeting or opportunistic’ is simply untrue. It was agreed on the 29th March 2018 at the meeting in the Scottish Parliament attended by Mr Aberdein and the First Minister and another individual that the meeting between myself and the First Minister would take place on 2nd April at her home near Glasgow. Self-evidently only the First Minister could issue that invitation to her private home.
17. In attendance at the meeting on 2nd April 2018 were Mr Aberdein, Mr Hamilton, Ms Lloyd and myself. The First Minister and I met privately and then there was a general discussion with all five of us. My purpose was to alert the First Minister to the illegality of the process (not being aware at that time of her involvement in it) and to seek an intervention from the First Minister to secure a mediation process to resolve the complaints.
18. I was well aware that under the Ministerial Code the First Minister should notify the civil service of the discussion and believed that this would be the point at which she would make her views known. The First Minister assured us that she would make such an intervention at an appropriate stage.
19. On 23rd April 2018, I phoned the First Minister by arrangement on WhatsApp to say that a formal offer of mediation was being made via my solicitor to the Permanent Secretary that day. In the event , this offer was declined by the Permanent Secretary, even before it was put to the complainers.
20. By the end of May, it was becoming clear that the substantial arguments my legal team were making in correspondence against the legality of the procedure were not having any impact with the Permanent Secretary. My legal team advised that it was impossible properly to defend myself against the complaints under such a flawed procedure. They advised that a petition for Judicial Review would have excellent prospects of success given the Government were acting
unlawfully. However I was extremely reluctant to sue the Government I once led. I wanted to avoid the damage both to the Scottish Government and the SNP which would inevitably result. To avoid such a drastic step, I resolved to let the First Minister see the draft petition for Judicial Review. As a lawyer, and as First Minister, I assumed that she would see the legal jeopardy into which the government was drifting. I therefore sought a further meeting.
21. On 1st June 2018 the First Minister sent me a message which was the opposite of the assurance she had given on the 2nd April 2018 suggesting instead that she had always said that intervention was “not the right thing to do”. That was both untrue and disturbing. On 3rd June 2018 I sent her a message on the implications for the Government in losing a Judicial Review and pointing to her obligation (under the Ministerial Code) to ensure that her administration was acting lawfully and (under the Scotland Act) to ensure that their actions were compliant with the European Convention.
22. The First Minister and I met in Aberdeen on 7th June 2018 when I asked her to look at the draft Judicial Review Petition. She did briefly but made it clear she was now disinclined to make any intervention.
23. My desire to avoid damaging and expensive litigation remained. My legal team thereafter offered arbitration as an alternative to putting the matter before the Court of Session. That proposal was designed to offer a quick and relatively inexpensive means of demonstrating the illegality of the procedure in a process which guaranteed the confidentiality of the complainers. It would also have demonstrated the illegality of the process in a forum which would be much less damaging to the Scottish Government than the subsequent public declaration of illegality. I was prepared at that time to engage fully with the procedure in the event my legal advice was incorrect. In the event, of course, it was robust. I explained the advantages of such an approach to the First Minister in a Whatsapp message of 5th July 2018.
24. At the First Minister’s initiative which I was informed about on the 13th July we met once again at her home in Glasgow at her request, the following day, 14th July 2018. There was no one else at this meeting. She specifically agreed to correct the impression that had been suggested to my counsel in discussion between our legal representatives that she was opposed to arbitration. I followed this up with a WhatsApp message on the 16th July 2018.
25. On 18th July 2018 the First Minister phoned me at 13.05 to say that arbitration had been rejected and suggested that this was on the advice of the Law Officers. She urged me to submit a substantive rebuttal of the specific complaints against me, suggested that the general complaints already answered were of little consequence and would be dismissed, and then assured me that my submission would be judged fairly. She told me I would receive a letter from the Permanent Secretary offering me further time to submit such a rebuttal which duly arrived later that day. As it turned out the rebuttal once submitted was given only cursory examination by the Investigating Officer in the course of a single day and she had already submitted her final report to the Permanent Secretary. My view is now that it was believed that my submission of a rebuttal would weaken the case for Judicial Review (my involvement in rebutting the substance of the complaints being seen to cure the procedural unfairness) and that the First Ministers phone call of 18th July 2018 and the Permanent Secretary’s letter of the same date suggesting that it was in my “interests” to submit a substantive response was designed to achieve that.
26. In terms of the meetings with me, the only breaches of the Ministerial Code are the failure to inform civil servants timeously of the nature of the meetings.
27. My view is that the First Minister should have informed the Permanent Secretary of the legal risks they were running and ensured a proper examination of the legal position and satisfied herself that her Government were acting lawfully.
28. Further once the Judicial Review had commenced, and at the very latest by October 31st 2018 the Government and the First Minister knew of legal advice from external counsel (the First Minister consulted with counsel on 13th November) that on the balance of probability they would lose the Judicial Review and be found to have acted unlawfully. Despite this the legal action was continued until early January 2019 and was only conceded after both Government external counsel threatened to resign from the case which they considered to be unstateable. This, on any reading, is contrary to section 2.30 of the Ministerial Code.
29. Most seriously, Parliament has been repeatedly misled on a number of occasions about the nature of the meeting of 2nd April 2018.
30. The First Minister told Parliament (see Official Report of 8th,10th & 17th January 2019) that she first learned of the complaints against me when I visited her home on 2nd April 2018. That is untrue and is a breach of the Ministerial Code. The evidence from Mr Aberdein that he personally discussed the existence of the complaints, and summarised the substance of the complaints, with the First Minister in a pre arranged meeting in Parliament on 29th March 2018 arranged for that specific purpose cannot be reconciled with the position of the First Minister to Parliament. The fact that Mr Aberdein learned of these complaints in early March 2018 from the Chief of Staff to the First Minister who thereafter arranged for the meeting between Mr Aberdein and the First Minister on 29th March to discuss them, is supported by his sharing that information contemporaneously with myself, Kevin Pringle and Duncan Hamilton, Advocate.
31. In her written submission to the Committee, the First Minister has subsequently admitted to that meeting on 29th March 2018, claiming to have previously ‘forgotten’ about it. That is, with respect, untenable. The pre-arranged meeting in the Scottish Parliament of 29th March 2018 was “forgotten” about because acknowledging it would have rendered ridiculous the claim made by the First Minister in Parliament that it had been believed that the meeting on 2nd April was on SNP Party business (Official Report 8th & 10th January 2019) and thus held at her private residence. In reality all participants in that meeting were fully aware of what the meeting was about and why it had been arranged. The meeting took place with a shared understanding of the issues for discussion – the complaints made and the Scottish Government procedure which had been launched. The First Minister’s claim that it was ever thought to be about anything other than the complaints made against me is wholly false.
The failure to account for the meeting on 29th March 2018 when making a statement to Parliament, and thereafter failing to correct that false representation is a further breach of the Ministerial Code.
Further, the repeated representation to the Parliament of the meeting on the 2nd April 2018 as being a ‘party’ meeting because it proceeded in ignorance of the complaints is false and manifestly untrue. The meeting on 2nd April 2018 was arranged as a direct consequence of the prior meeting about the complaints held in the Scottish Parliament on 29th March 2018.
32. The First Minister additionally informed Parliament (Official Report 10th January 2019) that ‘I did not know how the Scottish Government was dealing with the complaint, I did not know how the Scottish Government intended to deal with the complaint and I did not make any effort to find out how the Scottish Government was dealing with the complaint or to intervene in how the Scottish Government was dealing with the complaint.’
I would contrast that position with the factual position at paragraphs 18 and 25 above. The First Minister’s position on this is simply untrue. She did initially offer to intervene, in the presence of all those at the First Ministers house on the 2nd April 2018. Moreover, she did engage in following the process of the complaint and indeed reported the status of that process to me personally.
33. I also believe it should be investigated further in terms of the Ministerial Code, whether the criminal leak of part of the contents of the Permanent
Secretary’s Decision report to the Daily Record was sourced from the First Minister’s Office. We now know from a statement made by the Daily Record editor that they received a document. I enclose at Appendix B the summary of the ICO review of the complaint which explains the criminal nature of the leak and the identification of 23 possible staff sources of the leak given that the ICO Prosecutor has “sympathy with the hypothesis that the leak came from an employee of the Scottish Government”. My reasoning is as follows. The leak did not come from me, or anyone representing me. In fact I sought interdict to prevent publication and damage to my reputation. The leak is very unlikely indeed to have come from either of the two complainers. The Chief Constable, correctly, refused to accept a copy of the report when it was offered to Police Scotland on August 21st 2018 by the Crown Agent. It cannot, therefore have leaked from Police Scotland. Scottish Government officials had not leaked the fact of an investigation from January when it started. The only additional group of people to have received such a document, or summary of such a document, in the week prior to publication in the Daily Record was the First Minister’s Office as indicated in paragraph 4.8 of the ICO Prosecutor’s Report. In that office, the document would be accessed by the First Minister and her Special Advisers.
I would be happy to support this submission in oral evidence.
Rt Hon Alex Salmond
17th February 2021
As you can plainly see, the entire purpose of these redactions is to obliterate Geoff Aberdein from the picture. Very plainly nothing in these redactions tends to assist the identification of one of the lying accusers in court. The document was passed by the Parliament’s own legal service in line with Lady Dorrian’s amended court order, before yesterday the corrupt Crown Office intervened in a panic to have this evidence subverted.
Geoff Aberdein’s evidence is the most crucial collection of fact in the entire Holyrood Inquiry. Why?
In early March 2018 Nicola Sturgeon’s Chief of Staff and closest confidante, Liz Lloyd, phoned Geoff Aberdein to set up a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and told him it was about sexual allegations against Alex Salmond. That is a full month before the date on which Nicola Sturgeon lied to Parliament she first heard of allegations. Lying to Parliament is a resignation matter.
Why did Nicola lie to Parliament? Because she wanted to hide the fact she already was involved in the initiation of allegations in November 2017, when she instructed, against Whitehall advice, that an employment process was needed for complaints against ex-ministers. There is a mound of evidence for this, not least the fact that her Principal Private Secretary had already met with a complainant twice, on 20 and 21 November 2017, the day before Sturgeon’s written instruction to Lesley Evans to initiate the process.
To hide this early involvement, Sturgeon had to invent a date when she first knew about the process. She settled on 2 April when she met Alex Salmond. That was a lie by four months at least, but it is difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt. That she lied by one month is proven beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence of Geoff Aberdein. That is why it is the most important document in the entire process.
Nicola has since admitted to the meeting with Aberdein on 29 March, claiming she merely “forgot it”, that she just “bumped into” Aberdein and it is only “three days” (sic) from the meeting on 2 April. But Aberdein’s testimony is entirely incompatible with even Sturgeon’s amended story. He testifies it was set up by her office, with the allegations agenda known and dictated by them, three weeks earlier.
Is there anything to support Geoff Aberdein’s story? Yes. Aberdein was so worried by this that before he met Sturgeon on 29 March in Parliament (the meeting she subsequently claimed to parliament to have forgotten) he arranged a conference call with Duncan Hamilton QC and then SNP head spin doctor Kevin Pringle to discuss the implications. Both are willing to testify, but of course the Committee does not want them to.
How do I know all this? Because Geoff Aberdein gave precisely this evidence, all of it, in Alex Salmond’s criminal trial. Openly, in public, with no reporting restrictions. The entire mainstream media were present, but as they had only come in the hope of seeing Alex Salmond hung, they gave Aberdein’s crucial evidence little weight. I was there, I heard it and I reported it at the time.
There is one extra thing in Aberdein’s suppressed evidence which is not in his trial evidence. He testifies that he was contacted subsequently by Liz Lloyd to amend a press statement to hide the knowledge of the allegations against Salmond in March 2018.
To be perfectly plain, for the sake of the Corrupt Crown Office, this website is offering a reward for Geoff Aberdein’s evidence because we will publish it. We will first take the advice of both our solicitor and counsel on any redactions necessary to comply with Lady Dorrian’s amended court order on identification.
As for our publication of the unredacted version of the Salmond submission above, you can still see the unredacted version as it appeared originally on the Parliament’s website, with its appendices, here. In publishing it highlighting the changes, we are following the Spectator, Daily Mail and Guido Fawkes among others, all of which did it first. I know that the Crown Office has a habit of pursuing genuine Independence supporters over matters for which unionist journalists are left alone, despite committing the identical alleged offence simultaneously, but in this case I don’t think even the ultra corrupt Lord Advocate and Crown Office would try that.
Two final points. This is a different part of Alex Salmond’s evidence to that I published yesterday. I was asked by a committee member, Andy Wightman MSP, to clarify that the part published yesterday had not been subject to refusal to publish by the Committee. I make that clarification.
Finally, I very much hope that Alex Salmond will eventually appear before the Committee despite the censorship – and then give a press conference afterwards to fill in the censored bits. There can never have been a more hypocritical episode in Scottish politics than Nicola Sturgeon’s hysterical round of TV interviews inviting Alex Salmond to “produce his evidence” and “bring it on”, when all the time she and her machine were acting furiously behind the scenes to ensure that the corrupt Crown office and her parliamentary minions censored the evidence specifically that damages her.
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