Philip Sim Profile picture
BBC Scotland political journalist & occasional courtroom live-tweeter. ✍️:@BBCScotlandNews, 📻:@bbcpodlitical, spreadsheets & snark on here. RTs not endorsements
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Jun 28 20 tweets 4 min read
Big day at Holyrood - Nicola Sturgeon's "significant" update on indyref2 is set for 14:20. You can watch live on the BBC Scotland channel, and we'll have full coverage online and everywhere else. But what are we likely to hear? A thread of speculation... bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotla… As an early disclaimer; I am always prepared to be wrong. This is one where actually nobody really knows what’s coming, which is actually pretty rare in a political world where lines are pre-briefed and pitches are generally rolled...
Mar 23 25 tweets 8 min read
The Fergusons ferry-building saga really is a remarkable thing, when you look at the full timeline forensically laid out by @AuditScotland. Here is the report, and an egregiously detailed thread... audit-scotland.gov.uk/publications/n… We start in 2014. Fergusons Shipbuilders goes bust. The firm is bought by billionaire Clyde Blowers chief Jim McColl in a deal at least partly brokered by Alex Salmond. Later that year, govt-owned ferries/harbours infrastructure agency CMAL puts out a tender for two new ferries.
Mar 2, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
ScotGov has released its external legal advice from the Salmond judicial review. It's basically set out as a timeline of documents; starting from 27 Sept, when counsel were satisfied that most grounds were "weak", but there was "real risk" over the ground of procedural unfairness However advice changed quickly on 31 October, when the extent of contact between the investigating officer and complainers became clear; Roddy Dunlop QC said he was "very concerned indeed" and said this "presents a very real problem" - adding that IO may have been "not eligible"
Feb 1, 2021 6 tweets 1 min read
From independence strategy to trans rights, NEC factionalism to Alex Salmond, the SNP gives every impression of being a party threatening to tear itself apart on the eve of a crucial election. People will point to the SNP still polling very strongly (and perhaps more to the point, opposition parties very poorly) but there’s an old saying about divided parties not being winners for good reason...and about there only being one poll that matters
Jan 21, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
The (virtual) Court of Session will be hearing arguments about whether or not Holyrood can legislate for indyref2 today and tomorrow - case brought by activists like @MartinJKeatings rather than ScotGov, but obvs the ruling could have interesting implications... As is standard with the Court of Session I don't imagine there will *be* a ruling this week, but the judge says her "intention is to provide an opinion within days rather than weeks"
Jan 19, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
Latest in the back and forth between Alex Salmond and the Holyrood inquiry committee - they're now asking if he can come in on February 2nd *at the very latest*. Have also offered 26 January - altho they've also invited Peter Murrell to give further evidence on one of those dates extract from letter One minor detail I'd pick out from that letter is the note that committee members "unanimously" agreed to invite Mr Salmond to give evidence on 2 Feb. Perhaps a hint that things have not been entirely unanimous during their deliberations so far...
Dec 20, 2020 10 tweets 4 min read
Figure a lot of people have a lot of questions right now so thought a quick thread signposting to where what info we have is might be helpful... This is the current law on travel restrictions, in force now. It includes a legal ban on travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and in and out of council areas in levels three and four, without a “reasonable excuse” legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/344/s…
Aug 13, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
MSPs will vote on a motion of no confidence in John Swinney as education secretary today. We already know it'll fail, because the Greens won't back it - so why are the opposition pressing ahead with it? [thread alert] bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotla… While the outcome is obvs the immediately important thing for parents and pupils, politically the narrative is significant too, with an election looming - and ScotGov seem to have successfully seized control of it
Jun 22, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Holyrood committee investigating ScotGov's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond will start calling witnesses after summer recess - Leslie Evans likely to be the first, while Nicola Sturgeon & Mr Salmond himself will be invited, along with other advisors & civil servants Committee has agreed timetable with ScotGov for handover of written evidence and documents etc; also calls from members to get ahold of SNP records and Nicola Sturgeon's personal phone records, as well as evidence Alex Salmond was to use in the judicial review
Mar 23, 2020 17 tweets 1 min read
The jury have come back in the Alex Salmond trial at the High Court in Edinburgh Charge 1 (indecent assault of Woman A) Not Guilty by majority
Mar 20, 2020 14 tweets 2 min read
In court for day ten of the Alex Salmond trial - potentially the final day? Gordon Jackson to make his closing speech for the defence this morning, before Lady Dorrian will give directions to the jury and send them out Apologies for lack of tweets, was noting down the speech - a thread now follows...
Mar 19, 2020 21 tweets 3 min read
Alex Salmond has arrived at the High Court in Edinburgh for day nine of his trial, today accompanied by his wife Moira. Expecting the final defence witnesses this morning, before summing up speeches begin. Court getting under way now - obvs a bit later than usual, Lady Dorrian tells jury that an “administrative matter” had to be dealt with. Defence case continues
Mar 18, 2020 16 tweets 3 min read
Day eight of the Alex Salmond trial getting under way at the High Court; everyone still seems to be here rather than in self-isolation. Defence case to continue Shelagh McCall taking the lead for the defence with their first witness of the day, Samantha Barber. She was chief exec of Scottish Business in the Community when Alex Salmond became first minister, and attended dinners at Bute House.
Mar 17, 2020 16 tweets 3 min read
Defence have concluded questioning of Alex Salmond - now Alex Prentice will cross examine for the Crown (Cross exam is going really fast - focusing on notes just now, will update thread as soon as there’s a clear moment)
Mar 17, 2020 27 tweets 5 min read
Alex Salmond arrives at court for day seven of his trial - the defence begins today A reminder that while stuff will likely come out on Twitter first, by nature reports here are going to skim the surface a bit due to limits on space & time to take legal advice etc. Keep across @BBCScotlandNews website and our Alex Salmond Trial podcast for comprehensive reports
Mar 16, 2020 17 tweets 3 min read
Day six of the Alex Salmond trial at the High Court in Edinburgh Image First witness today is Woman B - Alex Salmond is accused of indecently assaulting her
Mar 13, 2020 25 tweets 4 min read
Day five of the Alex Salmond trial getting under way at the High Court. First Crown witness of the day is Woman K - named in a charge of sexual assault. Woman K says she was at a dinner with Alex Salmond when he “forcefully” and “very deliberately” grabbed her buttocks; she says she was “mortified”, and that “I think my heart stopped”
Mar 12, 2020 32 tweets 5 min read
Court in session for day four of the Alex Salmond trial. First witness of the day is Woman F - she is named in two charges, one of sexual assault and one of sexual assault with intent to rape Woman F describes work as a ScotGov civil servant; it involved her spending time with Alex Salmond, and work carried out at Bute House
Mar 11, 2020 38 tweets 6 min read
Day three of the Salmond trial about to get under way at the High Court in Edinburgh. One big development overnight - a large bottle of hand sanitiser has been put out in the media room Woman H is on the witness stand for the third day running; Shelagh McCall to continue cross examination for Alex Salmond’s defence
Mar 11, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
So in many ways this doesn’t actually change anything for the coverage you’ll see of the trial, as the media are at pains not to name the complainers anyway - but underlines the point about identification issues. A brief thread: The evidence is getting increasingly complex in terms of identification issues - there was one line of questioning yesterday which involved mention of Women A, G, J and H, and several other complainers were mentioned during the day. It’s a minefield, so we have to be very careful
Mar 10, 2020 12 tweets 2 min read
Woman H insists she hasn’t read Alex Salmond’s book, The Dream Shall Never Die; “it was widely considered a bit of a joke in politics, and I didn’t need to relive the campaign” through it Shelagh McCall asks why Woman H didn’t tell the security guard at Bute House about the alleged sex attack; she says she was “scared, embarrassed, humiliated” - “I wish I had screamed or physically reacted but I just turned to stone. I just wanted to get away and for it to stop.”