26 Oct 2012
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson today urged Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC to respond to calls for him to clear up the confusion caused by the SNP over Scotland’s future in Europe.
This week Ruth twice called on Mr Mulholland to make a statement to the Scottish Parliament and explain what legal advice the SNP had received from his offices about an independent Scotland’s place in Europe, but First Minster Alex Salmond immediately tried to block the request.
Today the situation became even more unclear when the Scottish government confirmed law officers had read and approved three documents produced by the SNP (Choosing Scotland’s Future, 2007; Your Scotland, Your Voice, 2009; Your Scotland Your Referendum, 2012) – all of which claimed an independent Scotland would continue in the European Union.
In March this year, First Minister Alex Salmond confirmed in a BBC interview with Andrew Neil that he had received advice from the Scottish Government’s law officers.
But in an official statement on Tuesday this week, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament that no specific advice had been sought from law officers on the issue of an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU.
Now, Labour’s Patricia Ferguson has joined Ruth’s call and written to Mr Mulholland to ask him to answer a series of questions about his department’s role in the affair.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said: “We cannot trust a word either Mr Salmond or Ms Sturgeon have to say and the only way we can get close to the truth is for Mr Mulholland to tell us exactly what advice was given, when and to whom.
“This is a matter of extreme public interest and it would be an embarrassment for Scottish democracy if the Lord Advocate was prevented from giving an explanation and I welcome Patricia Ferguson’s support for our request.
“It is now absolutely clear from both Mr Salmond’s interview and the Scottish Government’s announcement today that official legal advice of some sort was indeed given and Nicola Sturgeon was playing with words when she told Parliament no specific advice existed or had been sought.
“Under Mr Salmond’s direction, the Scottish Government spent thousands of pounds to avoid even admitting whether such advice had been given and then Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament no specific advice existed.
“Someone isn’t telling the whole truth and now there is a possibility Parliament has been misled, Mr Mulholland needs to speak up.”