David Davis has come under fire from the SNP in the House of Commons after suggesting Alex Salmond had been the victim of a criminal conspiracy.
The former UK cabinet minister used an adjournment debate on Tuesday to argue senior SNP figures should be investigated over possible “collusion, perjury and criminal conspiracy” in relation to the handling of complaints against Mr Salmond.
Mr Davis told the Commons he had evidence supplied by a whistleblower that suggested there had been “interference” from the highest levels of the party in the process.
Using the protection of parliamentary privilege, the MP read from text messages, which he said showed a “concerted effort” by SNP staffers to drum up complaints.
Nicola Sturgeon dismissed the suggestions at first minister’s question and said Mr Davis’ intervention had been the “very epitome of the old boys’ club”.
House of Commons
In the Commons, SNP MP Owen Thompson used a point of order to demand Mr Davis correct the record.
He said: “Privilege allows members to say a number of things, but it remains important that what members say is accurate and correct.
“Mr Davis made three specific points that I would contest. Firstly, he made reference to messages between specific members of SNP staff where Mr Salmond has claimed there is a conspiracy.
“It is my clear understanding that the Scottish Parliament committee has received all of the communications between the named members of staff, because it has used the powers it has to get them, and the committee has been widely reported as dismissing them as irrelevant and not showing any form of conspiracy.
“Second, he made reference to a message from an individual in HR, claiming interference by the First Minister’s Chief of Staff and suggested that this showed the FM’s Chief of Staff had knowledge of complaints against Mr Salmond earlier than she had said; however, Rape Crisis Scotland yesterday issued a statement from the civil servant involved, stating that this was “fundamentally untrue and are being deliberately misrepresented”.
“And finally, he claimed that civil servants had deliberately removed a document from the court. This is also untrue.”
He added: “Mr Speaker, Mr Davis claimed in a newspaper interview yesterday that he was “very careful” with what he said in the chamber on Tuesday evening. However, it would seem that he was not careful enough.
“Can you therefore advise what options are open to him to ensure the Parliamentary record is corrected.”
The deputy speaker responded by saying: “It’s not for me to comment on the accuracy of comments made by Mr Davis, but the Speaker has made it absolutely clear that if any member needs to correct the record they should do so at the earliest opportunity.”