Alex Salmond sexual harassment claims - What we know so far

The world of Scottish politics was rocked late last night with the news that complaints of misconduct had been made against Alex Salmond relating to his time in office as First Minister.
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The ex-SNP leader announced that he not only refuted the allegations made against him, but that he intended to take the Scottish Government to court over its handling of the case.

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Alex Salmond: '˜I've made mistakes but never sexually harassed anyone'

Chief among Mr Salmond’s complaints is that he is being subjected to a set of procedures into handling accusations against former Ministers that was agreed long after he had left office.

Here is what we know so far.

‘I have not sexually harassed anyone’

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In an interview with BBC Scotland’s Political Editor Brian Taylor, he admitted that he was “no saint” and has “got flaws”, adding: “I have made many mistakes in my life, political and personal.

Alex Salmond. Picture: PAAlex Salmond. Picture: PA
Alex Salmond. Picture: PA

“But I have not sexually harassed anyone and I certainly have not been engaged in criminality.”

The allegations

The Scottish Government confirmed in a statement this morning that, following an internal investigation into workplace harassment, it received two complaints in January that related to former First Minister Alex Salmond.

The Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government, Leslie Evans, said that she informed Mr Salmond of the claims against him in March, and by this Wednesday was preparing to make the complaints public.

Alex Salmond. Picture: PA WireAlex Salmond. Picture: PA Wire
Alex Salmond. Picture: PA Wire

Legal Response

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The former First Minister revealed in a statement late last night that he has been battling Ms Evans on the nature of the complaints procedure that has been applied to the allegations against him.

He labelled the procedure ‘unjust’ and said that Leslie Evans was acting ‘unlawfully’, while announcing that he had launched a Judicial Review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to determine whether the complaints procedure is lawful.

Scottish Government statement

In a statement announced earlier, Leslie Evans claimed that Mr Salmond’s statement “contains significant inaccuracies which will be addressed in those court proceedings.”

She added: “The Scottish Government will defend its position vigorously.”

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Ms Evans also confirmed that a separate legal action by Mr Salmond had stopped her from making public the complaints but noted that the ex-MSP had dropped those proceedings.

First Minister’s response

In a statement released earlier, Mr Salmond’s successor as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, revealed that she had been aware of the allegations against the Former First Minister for some time.

Ms Sturgeon said that she was first made aware of the allegations by Mr Salmond himself.

She made clear that her Government refutes Mr Salmond’s claims and will defend itself in court, adding: “This focus on process cannot deflect from the fact that complaints were made that could not be ignored or swept under the carpet.”

Police response

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A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We are carrying out an assessment of information which we have received and enquiries are at an early stage.”

Key events

January 2018 - Two complaints are lodged against Alex Salmond by Scottish Government staff members in relation to sexual misconduct while he was First Minister in December 2013.

March 2018 - Alex Salmond is informed of the complaints made against him and the procedure under which these will be addressed.

April 2018 - Nicola Sturgeon is first informed of the complaints when Mr Salmond himself contacts her to reveal he is under investigation.

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August 22 2018 - The conclusion of the investigation into Mr Salmond is relayed to the former First Minister and the staff members who made the complaint.

The findings of the probe are also reportedly passed onto the police although they refuse to comment.

August 23 2018 - Mr Salmond indicates that he intends to lodge an interdict which would prevent the Scottish Government from making details of the case public after Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans reveals she intends to make a statement on the issue. He also plans to lodge a judicial review against the Scottish Government’s complaints procedure which he brands “unlawful”

August 23 2018 - The complaints against Mr Salmond go public at about 10pm when the Daily Record reveals details of the case.

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August 23 2018 - The Scottish Government publishes advice on the handling of harassment complaints against former ministers about 11.40pm, less than two hours after the case against Salmond is revealed.

August 24 2018 - Mr Salmond drops his proposed interdict against the Government he formerly lead, but he will continue with the judicial review.

August 24 2018 - Ms Evans releases her first public statement on the issue, accusing Mr Salmond’s of “significant inaccuracies” in his public pronouncements on the issue and pledging to defend the Scottish Government’s position.

August 24 2018 - Ms Sturgeon warns that the complaints will not be “swept under the carpet” and says Mr Salmond’s court action should not deflect from the fact that complaints have been made.