My apologies to readers who have been waiting for the promised expansion of my last post. I’m afraid that is turning into a very long post which I expect to publish this week.
Meantime, Peter Murrell this morning must surely be the least impressive witness yet at the inquiry, and that is saying something. He did, however, manage to make one valid and important point during his last responses to the questioning of Jackie Baillie.
It seems that some of the women who made complaints to the police contacted the SNP too in September 2018, and that those complaints made their way to the National Secretary.
As Murrell pointed out, however, there was nothing the SNP could do about them as the Party’s ultimate sanction is expulsion and Salmond had already resigned from the Party.
That is one of the many reasons why the procedure taken by the Scottish Government against Alex Salmond was unlawful.
The ultimate sanction the First Minister can apply to any Minister for any misconduct is to require their resignation. There is no sanction that can be applied to a Minister who has already left office as Salmond had, years previously.
Hence, there is no procedure that can be adopted against a former Minister that is properly within — that is, not ultra vires of — the Scottish Government’s powers.
That is why the UK Government, among others, warned the Scottish Government against adopting their retrospective procedure. That is why the court would have found the procedure unlawful on that ground alone if the Scottish Government had proceeded to a hearing.
If only Mr Murrell could talk to his spouse about such matters…