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The First Minister will be aware that 18 December marks the second anniversary of the tragic fire at Cameron House hotel. Two years on, Mrs Midgley, who lost a son in the fire, is still waiting for answers. She has not had a face-to-face meeting with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in more than seven months. Will the First Minister ensure that the Lord Advocate meets her? The investigation has concluded and reports have been received, so will the First Minster please ensure that decisions are made by the Crown Office without any further delay?
I take the opportunity again to convey my thoughts to the families who were bereaved in the Cameron House hotel fire. It is impossible for any of us to imagine what they are going through, particularly at this time of year, as we approach the anniversary.
I hope that Jackie Baillie can take this answer in the spirit in which it is intended. It is not appropriate for me to instruct the Lord Advocate, because he operates independent of ministers in investigation of deaths and in respect of potential criminal prosecutions. I will, of course, convey Jackie Baillie’s question and request to the Lord Advocate and ask him to respond directly to her, but the independence of the law officers in such matters is a very important part of our constitution, which I am sure all of us want to respect. I understand the legitimate desire of families to have their questions answered; I think that we all want to see that happening as soon as possible.