‘Badly damaged’ Nicola Sturgeon may seek to stand down soon after May vote despite win

Sturgeon ‘badly damaged’ says Brian Monteith

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The SNP leader misled a Scottish Parliament committee, an investigation into the Scottish Government’s unlawful handling of harassment allegations against Alex Salmond has concluded. The findings are separate from those of James Hamilton, who reported on Monday that there had been no breach of the ministerial code by the First Minister over her role in the saga. Former Conservative MSP Brian Monteith has claimed if Ms Sturgeon was to stay on as the leader in the May election, she would not stay in the position for a full term.

Speaking to RT, Mr Monteith said: “I think that those who worship the First Minister will think she’s exonerated but I think those with an open mind will think there’s a good deal of doubt now about her credibility and her ability to even tell the truth under oath.

“There is a certain smell that now goes around with the First Minister.

“I think she is now badly damaged.

“Even if she were to be successful in the coming election, I don’t think that she would see a full term.

“I think she would sooner want to leave than leave the post.”

It comes as Ms Sturgeon said she would have resigned had she been found to have broken the ministerial code, but said she would not be “bullied” out of her position as she defeated an attempt to oust her.

The First Minister faced a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, brought by the Scottish Tories, who claim she misled parliament and ignored legal advice.

But the vote fell by 65 votes to 31 with 27 abstentions.

Nicola Sturgeon: No confidence motion defeated in parliament

Speaking in the debate on the motion, the First Minister said had the Hamilton inquiry gone the other way, she would have quit.

“Had Mr Hamilton’s report gone the other way, I would have accepted it, had he found that I had breached the code in anything other than the most technical and immaterial of ways, I would have been standing here right now tendering my resignation,” she said.

“The integrity of the office I am so privileged to hold really does matter to me.

“The office of First Minister is more important than any temporary incumbent of it.”

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The First Minister also told the Tories: “If you think you can bully me out of office, you are mistaken and you misjudge me.

“If you want to remove me as First Minister do it in an election.”

She added: “If today’s desperate political stunt proves anything, it is that you have no confidence whatsoever in your ability to do so, because you have nothing positive to offer the Scottish people.”

Scottish Tory Holyrood leader, Ruth Davidson, said the First Minister had been found to have misled parliament and the “honourable” thing to do after the publication of Tuesday’s report would be to step down.

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