Monday 22 March 2021 will see the release of the Hamilton Report, an independent inquiry into into the first minister’s handling of harassment complaints against her predecessor Alex Salmond. The inquiry by Ireland’s former chief prosecutor James Hamilton had to decide whether or not Nicola Sturgeon broke conduct rules for ministers. The inquiry was ordered by Sturgeon in 2019 and is the culmination of a turbulent few months for the first minister.
Alex Salmond, accused Sturgeon of a numerous breaches of the ministerial code. If she is found to have broken the code it is expected that the first minister will have to resign. With Holyrood elections on 6 May 2021 if Sturgeon is forced to leave her post it will have an effect on the SNPs chances of gaining a majority in the Scottish Parliament.
A separate Holyrood inquiry into the affair will also release their findings this week. Although the committee has suffered from a leak and it is already known that they MSPs voted by five to four that Sturgeon misled the committee when giving evidence. The vote was seen as partisan and as it went down party lines.
The Scottish Conservatives have scheduled a vote of no confidence in the first minister on Thursday 25 March.
Indyref2 outline published
On the day of the report the SNP government have published a draft bill for a second independence referendum. The SNP are hoping to gain a majority in the upcoming elections and will look to schedule a second independence vote in the ‘first half of the new term’. The legislation for Indyref2 says it will use the same Yes/No question as in 2014.
The UK government have so far refused to give permission for the second vote, saying that the vote in 2014 was ‘once in a generation’. When addressing a conference earlier this month the prime minister Boris Johnson said ‘"I just find it incredible that the SNP would choose this moment to again push their campaign for separation.
"Just when everything is beginning to reopen again, when we will soon be reunited with our friends and family, the SNP think that this is the time to turn us all against one another."