First Minister Alex Salmond claimed legal advice had been sought during tv interview. PROVING the worthlessness and indeed, damage to reality by party political media campaigns & a so called “independent inquiry” undertaken by persons appointed by those accused and under investigation, Scotland’s struggling First Minister Alex Salmond has yet again been cleard of a complaint lodged under the mysterious “Ministerial Code”, this time Mr Salmond being cleared of claiming on television he had legal advice to the effect that an independent Scotland could remain in the European Union, even though Mr Salmond actually said those very words in a BBC television interview with Andrew Neil.
You decide - First Minister Alex Salmond claimed he had legal advice an independent Scotland will remain in the EU
Predictably, the Scottish Government’s media machine has issued a long tirade (reprinted below) with quotes from the First Minister, congratulating himself upon his apparent exoneration from misinforming & misleading the public on the EU legal advice claims.
It is rumoured the entire PR driven incident along with the enquiry has cost the taxpayer around £50,000 to come up with an intense media campaign, supportive political appearances, snide media comments & speeches, supportive online media forum comments and a report to clear Mr Salmond of a a habit which the First Minister and the SNP will be remembered for in 2012, the year Scots finally found out the Nationalists are like all other political parties, and no different from the ones they castigate.
Political observers will also recall 2012 for being the year in which Mr Salmond was accused of being an “instinctive liar” by Scottish Labour, the party who along with the Scottish Conservatives & Liberal Democrats have made instinctive lying in public life a national sport, now joined in earnest by the SNP.
A political insider commented on the fiasco : “Clearly the European Union can do without another nationalistic leader who's Government clears him of lying on television, even when the camera suggests he did exactly that”
Scottish Govt Press Release : FM cleared by ministerial code report
The First Minister acted fully in accordance with the Scottish Ministerial Code in relation to the debate on the existence or content of legal advice on an independent Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union, an independent report has concluded.
The First Minister appointed Sir David Bell KCB – an independent adviser to the Scottish Government on the Ministerial Code – to conduct the investigation following a complaint by Catherine Stihler MEP.
The report, which has been published today, says: “I have not found you, or the Scottish Government, to have breached the Ministerial Code in respect of any complaints made by Ms Stihler. I have though recommended that the Scottish Government considers revising those parts of the code relating to legal advice.”
Sir David examined five separate grounds of complaint from Ms Stihler – and in each case he found that the First Minister and the Scottish Government had acted fully in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
The report also concludes that “the Edinburgh Agreement was the appropriate moment to seek specific legal advice from the Law Officers … it was only when the details of the referendum process became clear that you were in a position to seek such advice.”
Sir David also recommends that the Scottish Government considers whether the part of the Ministerial Code relating to legal advice could be redrafted in a clearer and more accessible form – a recommendation which the Government accepts.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I would like to thank Sir David for his very thorough and detailed report, the findings of which clearly demonstrate that there was no breach of the Ministerial Code on this matter.”
“I welcome the report which demonstrates that I and the rest of the Scottish Government acted entirely in accordance with the Scottish Ministerial Code. I also welcome his conclusion that the signing of the Edinburgh Agreement was the appropriate moment at which to seek specific legal advice on an independent Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union.”
“Sir David also recommends that the Scottish Government considers whether the section of its Ministerial Code relating to legal advice provided to Ministers should be redrafted to make it clearer. That is a recommendation I am happy to accept, and work will now be taken forward by Government officials with that aim in mind.
“This has been the sixth complaint to be referred to the independent panel of advisers I introduced in 2008 to rule on these matters. I am delighted that each complaint has been dismissed and the advisers concluded my ministers and I have acted entirely properly at all times.”