The Scottish Tories are set to go ahead with a vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy this week as the Alex Salmond row rages.
Conservatives are pressing on with the bid for Holyrood to censure John Swinney over the Scottish Government’s refusal to hand over full legal advice in the case.
It relates to Mr Salmond’s successful legal challenge against the government’s harassment complaints procedure, which led to the former first minister being awarded more than £500,000.
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross said Mr Swinney’s ‘position has become untenable’. The vote will be held on Tuesday or Wednesday subject to parliamentary business.
Mr Ross said the Deputy First Minister ‘manipulated the flow of information’.
Conservatives are pressing on with the bid for Holyrood to censure John Swinney (pictured with Ms Sturgeon last week) over the Scottish Government’s refusal to hand over full legal advice in the case
A Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times gave a 51-49 per cent split, and suggested just a third believe Nicola Sturgeon has been entirely honest about in the spat with Alex Salmond
‘He claimed that the documents showed the government did not ignore advice from counsel, which was contradicted by the very documents he published,’ he said.
‘John Swinney’s position has become untenable. He has disrespected the Scottish Parliament repeatedly, blatantly withheld evidence from a parliamentary inquiry and tried to mislead the public.
‘He has had more than enough chances to be transparent but his actions are getting more murkier and inexcusable as the weeks go on.’
He added: ‘We are proceeding with the vote of no confidence.
‘I urge all opposition parties to support it to uphold the reputation of the Scottish Parliament and to ensure that, in future, votes of the Parliament are respected by the Scottish Government.’
The move comes as the SNP‘s meltdown gathered pace, with two polls finding Scots would reject independence in a referendum.
A majority said they backed the union in separate surveys after a long run of results suggesting separatists would win a new vote north of the border.
Savanta Comres research for Scotland on Sunday gave a 52-48 per cent margin for ‘no’, excluding those who said they were not sure. Meanwhile, a Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times gave a 51-49 per cent split, and suggested just a third believe she has been entirely honest about in the spat with Mr Salmond.
The findings will cause fresh panic in the SNP, and are a boost for Boris Johnson after growing alarm about Ms Sturgeon’s drive to break up the UK.
Ms Sturgeon has been facing a huge backlash over the handling of allegations against her SNP predecessor Alex Salmond
The SNP insists that if it wins Holyrood elections in May it will have a mandate for a re-run of the 2014 referendum, even though both sides agreed at the time it was a ‘once in a generation’ decision.
Mr Johnson has said he will not give permission for the vote, leaving the nationalists threatening to hold a ‘wildcat’ version that would not have any legal standing.
However, there has been a significant shift in the polls over recent weeks, with Ms Sturgeon facing attacks from former friend Alex Salmond that she broke the ministerial code over handling of allegations against him.
The UK government has also been credited with a strong vaccine rollout.
Ms Sturgeon’s nerves showed through last week as she tried to play down a renewed SNP push for a Scottish independence referendum this year.
The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford reiterated the goal even though support for breaking up the union.
But Ms Sturgeon refused to repeat the timetable when challenged about it at a daily Covid briefing.
The Savanta ComRes survey was carried out in the two days after the current First Minister appeared before the committee.
It found 35 per cent of respondents said the inquiry was making them less likely to vote for independence.
Savanta Comres research for Scotland on Sunday gave a 52-48 per cent margin for ‘no’, excluding those who said they were not sure
Boris Johnson visited a Covid vaccination centre in london today as the jabs drive continued
Some 16 per cent said the inquiry was making them more likely to vote Yes, with 41 per cent saying it had made no difference
According to the poll, 43 per cent said their trust in Ms Sturgeon had fallen due to the inquiry.
The Panelbase research found just one in three Scottish voters believe Ms Sturgeon has been entirely honest about the Salmond affair.
A third of voters wanted the First Minister to resign – with the figure rising to 61 per cent if she is found to have broken the ministerial code by an independent review.