Former Scottish leader denies sex harassment claims
LONDON (AP) — Alex Salmond, the former leader of Scotland, is promising to take legal action against the Scottish government over the way it handled sexual harassment allegations against him.
Salmond described the allegations dating backing to 2013 over his conduct toward two staff members as “patently ridiculous.” The Daily Record newspaper reported the case has been handed to police.
“This is a procedure so unjust that even now I have not been allowed to see and therefore to properly challenge the case against me,” he said on Twitter. “I have not been allowed to see the evidence.”
Salmond has been a big figure on the Scottish political stage for decades and led the 2014 campaign to make Scotland independent of the United Kingdom. Salmond stood down as Scotland’s first minister soon after voters backed remaining part of the U.K. in the referendum.
The party is now led by Nicola Sturgeon, a politician who long served as Salmond’s deputy — and her unease at the allegations was evident Friday. However, she insisted in a statement that organizations and workplaces must make it possible for people to report concerns with the confidence that complaints would be treated seriously.
“My relationship with Alex Salmond obviously makes this an extremely difficult situation for me to come to terms with,” she said. “I am also acutely aware how upsetting this will be for my party. However, the over-riding priority must be to ensure fair and due process.”
The Scottish Government said Friday that it was vital any harassment allegations are thoroughly investigated, and said Salmond’s promise of court action came as the government made clear the allegations would be made public.
“His statement contains significant inaccuracies which will be addressed in those court proceedings,” said Leslie Evans, the permanent secretary at the Scottish government. “The Scottish Government will defend its position vigorously.”