Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon sees off vote of no confidence

EDINBURGH — Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon comfortably defeated a vote of no confidence organized amid the fallout from her feud with predecessor Alex Salmond.

The vote, put forward by the Scottish Conservatives, would have forced the first minister to resign in the wake of two inquiries conducted into her government’s botched handling of harassment complaints against Salmond, her one-time friend and mentor.

Members of the Scottish parliament voted the motion down Tuesday, with 65 members voting against. Only the Scottish Conservatives’ 30 MSPs and one independent voted for, while Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats abstained.

Leading the motion, interim Conservative leader in Holyrood Ruth Davidson told Sturgeon that the “honorable thing would be to resign” after a committee report released Tuesday morning concluded she had misled the Scottish parliament over her interactions with Salmond.

Rejecting the findings of that report “entirely,” Sturgeon told Holyrood she would have resigned if a separate report conducted by an independent investigator had found she broke the ministerial code.

That account — released Monday — cleared Sturgeon of that key accusation, which had the potential to be career-ending if proven true.

Salmond was first minister and leader of Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party (SNP) prior to Sturgeon and successfully sued her administration over a bungled probe into complaints against him. Salmond won that case, but was later arrested, prosecuted, and then cleared of a series of sexual assault charges.  

The vote is a boost for Sturgeon ahead of May 6’s pivotal Scottish parliament election in which a majority for the SNP could pave the way for a second vote on independence. 

Alasdair Lane contributed reporting.



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