Tory sexual harassment disciplinary procedure could change after Miles Briggs case - Ruth Davidson

MSP Miles Briggs was cleared of sexual harassment following a party disciplinary hearing into the claims.
MSP Miles Briggs was cleared of sexual harassment following a party disciplinary hearing into the claims.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said how the party deals with sexual harassment allegations could change following recent criticism.

MSP Miles Briggs was cleared of sexual harassment at a hearing of the party’s disciplinary committee last week.

Charity Rape Crisis criticised the way the complaint was handled and called on the Scottish Conservatives to “urgently change their approach to investigating sexual harassment complaints”.

At the time, party leader Ruth Davidson tweeted that she had “confidence in the robustness of the disciplinary process the party has put in place”.

She has now said it may look at changing the way such allegations are handled.

READ MORE: Row as Tory MSP Miles Briggs is cleared by party of sexual harassment

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Ms Davidson said: “We’re happy to review our processes and one thing we might have to look at, I think, is whether complaints of sexual harassment are dealt with in the way same way, because at the moment they are, within the same framework of other disciplinary procedures like, for example, bullying.

“It might be that we have to separate that.”

She added: “What we will have to review and the management board of our party will have to review is whether we make a recommendation for changes to that procedure.”

READ MORE: Tory MSP tells of ‘living hell’ after being cleared of sexual harassment

Ms Davidson said the decision would be taken at the management level of the party and stressed there was currently no requirement for a complainant to give evidence in person.

Mr Briggs faced accusations that he made persistent unwanted advances to a female worker from another party on the evening of a parliamentary social event in February.

The Lothian MSP was cleared of any wrongdoing last Monday when the panel found his account of events to be “credible” and it dismissed the complaint.

Mr Briggs described the allegations as “completely false” and said he had been through “a living hell”.

The complainant said she was “gutted” by the outcome and hit out at the complaints process.