Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has just faced a serious crisis in her political career. A report by independent Irish lawyer James Hamilton acquitted him of charges that he had violated the rules of conduct of the so-called “ministerial code”. This means that the risk of Sturgeon resigning has been averted for the time being. She was “delighted and certainly relieved,” the First Minister said.
The report, released Monday, highlights Sturgeon’s behavior in relation to his former mentor and predecessor, Alex Salmond. The scandal threatened to affect elections and end Sturgeon’s political career in a few weeks’ time.
Salmond, the former First Minister, was acquitted of misconduct charges a year earlier, but has since sought revenge on the head of government and those around him: they accused him of intentionally damaging his reputation. and accused Sturgeon of misleading Parliament. about this.
In his report, however, attorney Hamilton came to the conclusion that, although Sturgeon presented the events to Parliament incompletely, he did not act intentionally. They also found no evidence that Sturgeon attempted to influence an internal investigation into the allegations of abuse against Salmond.
No-confidence motion and a serious allegation
With the acquittal, Sturgeon will be strengthened shortly before the decisive parliamentary election in May. She is hoping for an absolute majority for her Scottish National Party SNP, to be able to assert her fight for independence from Great Britain and push for a new referendum on secession.
Sturgeon, however, still faced a no-confidence motion on Tuesday, initiated by Douglas Ross, the head of the Tories in Scotland. However, the first minister must avoid the vote with the help of the Greens.
Photo: Andrew Milligan / Getty Images
A Scottish Parliament committee report, published on Tuesday morning, was far more critical of Sturgeon. The committee examined the Scottish government’s failure to deal with the Salmond case and concluded that the government had made “serious mistakes”. Sturgeon himself was said to have “betrayed” Parliament. However, the committee was divided along party lines: SNP members voted against Sturgeon’s criticism, the opposition in favour.
Can the damage caused by the Salmond case be managed?
Lawyer Hamilton’s independent report is seen as crucial to both the vote on the no-confidence vote and the referendum on the matter. This could keep the damage from Salmond’s case manageable. The SNP has lost several percentage points in the elections, but remains the most popular political force in Scotland.
And Sturgeon still enjoys strong voter confidence. He is considered capable and prudent. Especially in the pandemic year, he cut a decent figure – especially in comparison to Boris Johnson. She personally gave daily briefings on the coronavirus situation and was able to better communicate her decisions, while Johnson’s U-turn seemed uncertain.
John Curtis, a pollster who teaches at Strathclyde, says, “Even if the objective track record, when it comes to the supply of protective equipment, the condition or mortality of older people’s homes, raises questions, Could offer a lot better.” He conducts research at the University of Glasgow and the National Center for Social Research. “She knows the details very well and talks to people at eye level, not from above.”
Sturgeon outlived his political foster father
Scottish journalist Peter Ross once described Sturgeon as a “smart little town girl”. He was always considered sensible, determined and conscientious. Sturgeon grew up in the town of Prestwick and the village of Draghorn, the daughter of an electrician and a nurse. In the interview, he said that the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had persuaded him to go into politics. “I hated everything he stood for. That was the core of my nationalism”, he was quoted by the newspaper “The Scotsman”.
She joined the SNP at the age of 16, when the Scottish National Party was insignificant. Years of hard work followed. In parallel with her law studies in Glasgow, she was committed to the SNP. Sturgeon overcame its shyness, learned to communicate better and show empathy. His talent was visible from the beginning. When she was still a student, colleagues predicted that she would one day become the first woman to head the SNP, David Torrence wrote in his biography “Nicola Sturgeon: A Political Life”. She is considered the adopted daughter of Salmond in politics, and they fought side by side as inseparable partners. They were united by a dream: both wanted to lead Scotland to independence.
Side by Side for Freedom and the SNP: Sturgeon and Salmond in April 2015
Photo: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Looks like it’s all long gone. Sturgeon’s eight-hour appearance before Parliament’s Inquiry Committee in Edinburgh in early March made it clear that he was a more skilled politician than his predecessor. Still, while Salmond showed no remorse, Sturgeon did apologize for his administration’s mistakes. “Sturgeon’s position was strengthened by her presence, not Salmond’s,” says pollster Curtis. Overall, most Scots consider the sturgeon, not the salmond, in this conflict. Confidence is particularly high among SNP voters.
In the end, Sturgeon may still succeed what Salmond failed: when a narrow majority of Scots voted against the detachment in 2014, he resigned as head of government.
Sturgeon still has to fight hard for an absolute majority in the upcoming elections. But tackling the pandemic will probably be more important to the outcome than the complicated salmon case.
Devoted problem solver. Tv advocate. Avid zombie aficionado. Proud twitter nerd. Subtly charming alcohol geek.