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Ex-Scottish leader quits party he once led amid sex claims

August 29, 2018

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 file photo, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond poses for photographs in Turriff, Scotland. The former leader of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has quit the party he once led while allegations of sexual harassment against him are investigated. Salmond said in a video message Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 that he was resigning from the Scottish National Party. He denied allegations of harassment, and said "I absolutely reject any suggestion of criminality." (AP Photo/Scott Heppell, file)

LONDON (AP) — The former leader of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has quit the party he once led while allegations of sexual harassment against him are investigated.

Salmond said in statement Wednesday that he was resigning from the Scottish National Party. He denied allegations of harassing two ex-staffers, and said “I absolutely reject any suggestion of criminality.”

He said he planned to reapply for membership once he had cleared his name.

Salmond also said he was launching a crowdfunding campaign for legal action against the Scottish government over the complaints process activated against him.

Salmond led the pro-independence party for 20 years, and was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014. A big figure on the Scottish political stage for decades, he led the unsuccessful 2014 campaign to make Scotland independent of the U.K.

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