Lord Steele and George Reid are to investigate a prison escape complaint made by Ian Gray. The complaint has been referred by the First Minister to a panel comprising of the two former Presiding Officers.
Labour has accused Mr Salmond of an inexcusable failure to mention, in Holyrood exchanges last Thursday, that inmate John Brown, serving life for murder, had absconded the previous day from Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee. The exchanges concerned an earlier absconding by a different Castle Huntly prisoner who handed himself into police after a week on the run.
In a letter to Mr Gray, Mr Salmond said: "I believe your complaint to be publicity-driven rather than procedural, and pursued without any solid basis whatsoever. However, I set up the independent procedure for the purpose of referring complaints to the panel of former Presiding Officers. On that basis I have made the reference that you requested to the panel."
What a waste of public money. Labour are so devoid of policies that the only way they can substantiate their presence in the Scottish Parliament is by behaving in this immature manner. We know Alex Salmond had complete support from the police service for not making any public statement prior to their own, so what does Ian Gray expect to gain from this? It certainly can't be votes.