Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Sunday, 18 January 2009

Scott will accept probe findings

Tavish Scott
Mr Scott said he wanted to move away from the funding row

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has agreed to accept the ruling of a probe into whether the first minister misled parliament.

Alex Salmond has dismissed accusations of telling MSPs a funding wrangle for the Inter Faith Council had been resolved when it had not.

Holyrood's former presiding officers are looking into the claims, under the ministerial code.

Mr Salmond has said he was "extremely confident" of being cleared.

The row blew up after Mr Salmond, while being grilled by Mr Scott at first minister's questions, said the funding issue had been resolved at the council, where redundancy notices were sent to staff on 11 December, as it had not secured funding beyond 16 January.

Important issues

The Lib Dem leader said a communication between the government and the council showed the issue was still being looked into the following week.

But the government said a funding "commitment" had been given, while the assurance needed to later be officially put down in writing.

Mr Salmond, who described the complaints as "totally unjustified", has referred the row to former Holyrood presiding officers Lord Steel and George Reid, who provide independent scrutiny on matters relating to the ministerial code.

When asked on BBC Scotland's Politics Show if he would accept their findings, Mr Scott said: "Yes, absolutely."

He went on: "I think Alex Salmond did mislead parliament - the former presiding officers will look into it and they'll come to a view, and that should be that."

Mr Scott added that there were more important issues - such as the economy - which parliament needed to discuss, adding: "I want to move away from it."

Separately, the Scottish Parliament's current presiding officer, Alex Fergusson, has asked Holyrood's standards committee to examine the procedure under which the accuracy of all MSPs' comments are policed.

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