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First Minister defiant

Sturgeon turns up heat after seeing off No Confidence bid

Nicola Sturgeon defending herself during the debate:

Defiant First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to present a “more positive” message for the country after the Tories failed in their attempt to force her out of office.

Ms Sturgeon survived a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Parliament over her government’s handling of complaints against Alex Salmond.

MSPs voted 65 to 31 to reject the Conservatives’ motion after the Greens closed ranks with the SNP and Labour opted to abstain rather than back the motion.

During an ill-tempered session the First Minister accused her critics of deciding she was guilty before any evidence had been heard by the cross-party committee.

MSPs investigating the case confirmed its view that she had misled parliament, which she denies.

On Monday she was cleared of breaking the ministerial code following an inquiry by Irish lawyer James Hamilton.

After today’s No Confidence motion was rejected she said: “I’m at peace with my conscience”.

Later, in a strongly dismissive message to her opponents her spokesperson accused the Tories of using bullying tactics in their attempts to unseat the First Minister and hinted that she would turn up the heat on the constitution.

“The Tories’ tawdry bid to bully the First Minister out of office has failed abysmally – and it deserved to fail,” said the Bute House spokesman.

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“The result is a personal humiliation for Douglas Ross [Conservative leader] and Ruth Davidson [Conservative Holyrood leader], and betrays inept leadership on their part.

“Lodging a motion of confidence three weeks ago, before the First Minister had uttered a word to the committee, shows that for the Tories this was only ever about politics and never about the facts. 

“And now that James Hamilton’s independent inquiry has concluded, categorically and conclusively, that there was no breach of the Ministerial Code, they should have the dignity and grace to accept that verdict. 

“The Government will learn the lessons required from this whole issue.

“But it is now for the people of Scotland to decide what kind of society we want to be – about how we rebuild from the pandemic and create a fairer, more prosperous nation – and in the coming weeks the First Minister will set out the most positive, upbeat and optimistic case ever made for the future of this country.”  

During the debate in parliament Ms Davidson told Ms Sturgeon that the ‘honourable thing would be to resign’.

But Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie turned on the Conservatives, saying they were “only interested in removing Nicola Sturgeon from office rather than the facts of this terrible series of events”.

He added that Scottish politics today “does not look pretty”.

“Talk of lynching, assassination, leaking the private evidence of complaints, tabling motions of no confidence before even all the evidence had been heard…

“…attacking a committee because it does not agree with first minister, lauding the performance of Nicola Sturgeon because she talked to a committee for over eight hours– as if the show is more important than the facts – boasting about recruiting new members on the back of this tragedy

“No-one wins from this ugly episode.”

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