Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Labour Party asks Nicola Sturgeon to reveal who in her office took meeting re Bill Walker since one of them is standing as Glasgow SNP Candidate!
One of the things about top politicians is that their employees in general deliver a very good service.
As most people in the Scottish political pond know, I am emerging as a top political blogger.
So, when I saw that Labour MSP Jackie Bsaillie was keen to get answers from Nicola Sturgeon on the Bill Walker situation, I duly sent off for a copy of the questions via FOI request.
As a measure of how seriously the Scottish Labour Party sees me as an influential blogger, instead of the usual FOI wait of 20 days, I got the information in a few hours.
Many thanks to Gordon!
The Bill Walker case is very dangerous for the Scottish National Party, because it goes to the integrity right at the heart of the SNP at the very top.
Despite the SNP knowing of the Bill Walker situation, nothing was done, that has now backfired spectacularly in their faces.
Walker is a major problem and he is sitting in the Holyrood Chamber, cheering loudly the SNP and reapplying for his membership back.
I was curious to the questions that Jackie Baillie wanted to know so here is the full letter to Nicola Sturgeon.
‘Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Depute Leader of the SNP and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
St Andrew’s House
Edinburgh, EH1 3DG
23 April 2012
For the last twelve years, we have worked on a cross-party basis to tackle the horror that is domestic violence. All parties have taken a strong stance against it, improved the way offenders are prosecuted and sought to de-normalise violence in the home.
I am therefore extremely alarmed to read in the media that your office was informed about Bill Walker's violent past as long ago as 2008 – long before he was approved by your party to be recommended to the public as an elected representative. The SNP has since confirmed that this information was passed to the party’s headquarters by your staff member. I do not understand why you, or your party, did not act on the information you received.
You will be aware too that over the weekend, Bill Walker’s son, Douglas, has had the courage to speak out about his father. I am sure you will agree his interview made quite chilling reading.
In light of these serious revelations, a catalogue of unanswered questions have arisen over the way you and SNP headquarters have dealt with this issue and given the significant public interest in this matter, I would be grateful if you could respond to the following questions:
1. On what date were you first provided with information relating to Bill Walker and instances of violence against women and children? Were you or the SNP aware of any concerns prior to 2008?
2. Who was the employee to which Rob Armstrong disclosed the information about Bill Walker's past? Who else was employed in your office at the time?
3. Were you aware at the time your employee had met with Rob Armstrong?
4. Following your employee’s meeting with Rob Armstrong in 2008, what information was relayed to you?
5. What assessment did you make at the time about the information Rob Armstrong presented to your office in 2008?
6. Did you instruct a follow-up meeting with Rob Armstrong? Have you ever met with Rob Armstrong?
7. Following the meeting with Rob Armstrong, what action did you and your constituency staff member take? Was it you or your staff member that informed SNP headquarters? Who at SNP headquarters was the information passed to?
8. Exactly what information was passed on to SNP headquarters? Was all the information passed to your office made available to head office? How soon after the meeting with Rob Armstrong did this happen?
9. What action did you recommend and what action was taken by SNP headquarters with the information that was passed to them?
10. Did the SNP conduct an inquiry into the allegations it received about Mr Walker?
11. Did Mr Walker undergo a selection examination or interview, and was the disclosed information put to Bill Walker? If not, why?
12. Following his meeting at your office in 2008, why, as Rob Armstrong states, did “nobody of any rank” ever contact him subsequent to that meeting?
13. Do you accept that the assessment the SNP has since provided of the meeting between your staff member and Rob Armstrong is a “totally inaccurate assessment”?
14. In light of the information that was passed to your office in 2008, did you personally support Bill Walker’s candidature in 2011?
15. Given the information that was passed to your office and SNP headquarters in 2008 and the fact Bill Walker went on to be selected as a candidate numerous times thereafter, what message does this send about the SNP’s commitment to tackling domestic violence and violence against children?
16. What is your position on the comments made in the media by Bill Walker’s son, Douglas, about his father?
17. Do you believe Bill Walker has demonstrated the high expectations the public demand of their elected representatives?
18. Do you believe Bill Walker remains a fit and proper person to be an MSP?
19. In light of Bill Walker and other recent high-profile cases where SNP candidates have fallen far short of expected standards, do you believe there is a case for the SNP to tighten its vetting and selection processes?
20. Do you regret anything about the way you or the SNP has handled this case?
I trust you appreciate the seriousness of this case and the overwhelming public interest, and therefore I look forward to your response within the next 24 hours.
Jackie Baillie MSP
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing’
This is exactly the kind of letter and clinical breakdown that I am able to do.
It presents Nicola Sturgeon with real problems, something is seriously wrong with how the Scottish National Party deals with complaints.
As the victim of an SNP smear campaign, the attitude by the people at the very top of the SNP is to ignore and hope people go away.
That policy has resulted in the Walker situation and many other incidents not being dealt with properly to the shame of the SNP's senior leadership of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
What is the difference between the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish National Party for me?
I ask for help and get it in 1 hour 33 minutes by the Scottish Labour Party.
I asked for help from the Scottish National Party and am still waiting 8 months later.
My advice to Nicola Sturgeon, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University