THE Scottish Greens co-leader has suggested the reports on whether Nicola Sturgeon breached the ministerial code of conduct may not give a clear cut judgement.

Speaking to The National Patrick Harvie was asked what position his party would take if the First Minister is found to have broken the code which sets out how ministers should act in public office.

A Holyrood committee into the Scottish Government’s unlawful handling of complaints into Alex Salmond and a separate inquiry by James Hamilton QC are examining whether the First Minister did breach the code.

Her predecessor maintains she breached the code multiple times including misleading parliament about when she first found out about the complaints and in prolonging the government’s defence of the civil legal action taken by Salmond after receiving warnings from senior lawyers over the strength of its case.

The First Minister denies breaching the ministerial code.

Asked if he would support a no confidence motion in Sturgeon if she is found to have broken the ministerial code, Harvie said: “If we care about this issue, about what went wrong in the investigation into harassment allegations, if we care about making sure the government has a policy about investigating such allegations in the future that is robust and that is going to take the issue of sexual harassment seriously then you give the committee the information it needs and the time to do its report.”

Asked how he would respond, he said: “It will not be a simple guilty or not guilty, this is not a criminal trial.

“This is two inquiries into very detailed issues and I have no doubt that the reports from each will be very very detailed.

“Everybody, politicians and the public will have to consider all of that as we make decisions either in parliament or at the election.”

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie open to coalition Yes government with SNP after May elections

Then pressed that the Hamilton report could go one of either two ways, that the First Minister broke the ministerial code – or she did not – and if it was the former should she resign, Harvie said the two options may not be the only outcomes. He said: “I am not quite sure it is as binary as that. It is plausible that the inquiry may find there was not a breach of the code, it is plausible the inquiry will find there was a very minor technical breach of the code, it’s plausible the inquiry will find a much more serious issue.

“It’s about drilling into the detail and figuring out what exactly has happened here, what’s gone wrong and why and then looking at how we respond to that.”

He added: “But the Conservatives or anybody else suggesting any breach of the code must mean that somebody must resign, then I have very bad news for them about Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, as she was found in breach of the ministerial code and Boris Johnson basically said it doesn’t matter and backing her and even the chief investigator into the ministerial code resigned because that was just not a tenable position for a minister to be saying ‘I don’t care about breaches of the ministerial code’”.

He added: “Look let’s wait and see what the reports say – both of them – the politicians on the committee who are investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment allegations but also the Hamilton report into the application of the ministerial code. Let’s see the detail of what they both say before leaping to judgement.”

During the interview Harvie said he was concerned the dispute between the First Minister and her predecessor could weaken public engagement in the political process.

“I would worry that this dispute undermines the sense of trust and connection that people ought to have in our political process. I think it goes beyond the independence question,” he said.

“I think it is about believing in what is a decent democratic process. We have all seen the wild conspiracy theories online about Scotland being a one party state, a failed state, this nonsense. I think people need to be very careful about throwing around that absurd extremist rhetoric.”

He added: “In Scotland, we live in a much more functional, much more multi party democracy than the UK has.

“We should be proud of it and our election should be about the big questions facing us – how do we recover from the pandemic, how do we build a fairer more equal society, how do we run the economy without trashing the natural world around us.”

The Tories are to hold a motion of no confidence in John Swinney tomorrow or Wednesday and one in the First Minister “shortly afterwards”.

Both the committee and the Hamilton reports are to be published before the end of the Holyrood session on March 25.