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MSPs seek ‘clarification’ over £512,250 payment to Alex Salmond

Details of legal costs are ‘routinely’ put online, but has not yet been in the case of the former first minister, a Holyrood committee heard.

The Scottish Government paid £512,250 in legal costs to former first minster Alex Salmond (Jane Barlow/PA)
The Scottish Government paid £512,250 in legal costs to former first minster Alex Salmond (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

A Holyrood committee is demanding “clarificiation” from the Scottish Government over why details of a legal payout to former first minister Alex Salmond have not been put online.

Permanent Secretary Lesley Evans, Scotland’s most senior civil secretary, has already confirmed to MSPs that legal costs of more than £25,000 are “routinely” published online.

But in a letter to MSPs who are examining how the Scottish Government handled misconduct allegations against the former SNP leader, Ms Evans said the payment of legal expenses to him “had not yet been published by the Scottish Government as part of this routine process”.

The committee... notes that legal expenditure over £25,000 is routinely published on the Scottish Government website. However the committee notes that this is not in fact the case in this instance at the date of this committee meeting and will seek clarification Linda Fabiani, MSP

It was confirmed in August that the Government paid £512,250 in legal costs to the former first minister, after the Court of Session ruled the Government’s handling of complaints made against him, which he denied, was “unlawful”.

Linda Fabiani, convener of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, noted that while such information should be “routinely published”, this “is not in fact the case in this instance at the date of this committee meeting”.

She confirmed the committee is seeking “clarification” on the matter.

Having previously raised concerns that some documents could have been automatically deleted from the Scottish Government’s computer storage system, the committee is also looking for more information about the Enterprise Vault system used by the administration.

Ms Fabiani said this could contain “information such as emails” with these “held for a year before deletion”.

PA

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