(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon misled Scottish Parliament: that's according to the latest conclusion made by the Alex Salmond Inquiry.
Ms. Sturgeon was previously accused of lying to parliament over her predecessor Alex Salmond, with her critics alleging that she misled Parliament about a meeting between herself and Mr. Salmond in evidence to the committee.
Despite denying these claims, the committee found that she was not justified in not 'immediately' recording the 2 April meeting with Mr. Salmond.
She previously defended her actions by saying that she did not want to risk 'breaching the confidentiality of the process.'
According to a source with the news wire PA, Holyrood’s harassment committee voted 5-4 against Ms. Sturgeon, claiming that she gave an ‘inaccurate’ account of a meeting with her predecessor during the sexual misconduct investigation into Mr. Salmond, whom she had previously branded 'a sex pest.'
Following this decision, Sturgeon will likely be investigated for a potential breach of the ministerial code of conduct.
This would be extremely detrimental to her, as such a finding could pressure Ms. Sturgeon into resigning ahead of the election in May.
However, the code states that any minister who is found to knowingly be in breach should offer their resignation.
According to Sky News, the word ‘knowingly’ was not included by the committee in the agreed text, meaning that Sturgeon may be able to dodge this alleged breach.
Sturgeon previously admitted that while she acted 'properly and appropriately' in the handling of the harassment claims, and further apologised to both the public and the women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against her predecessor.
Documents which were shared recently show that legal counsel advised the Scottish Government to concede to Mr. Salmond more than two months before their legal battle collapsed.
Despite this, the case continued and found Salmond not guilty, with the former First Minister being awarded more than £600,000 (€694,074) in costs and damages.
Although the vote against Nicola Sturgeon was a narrow one, and it should be noted that the committee is still considering its report, it cannot be denied that this is a tumultuous time for her political career.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call Samaritans Ireland at 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can contact the Rape Crisis Centre by clicking here.
Help is always at hand and there is always someone available to listen.