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Friday, 24 August 2018

Alex Salmond denies harassment claims and takes Scottish Government to court

Written by Lucy Christie

Former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has denied claims of harassment made against him.

The Daily Record reported that allegations about his conduct towards two staff members in 2013 - while he was in office - have been handed to police.

In a statement, Mr Salmond denied the claims and said he has been prevented from properly challenging them by Scottish Government procedure.

He has launched a court action to contest the complaints process that was activated against him.

The Scottish Government said it was vital any allegations of harassment were investigated thoroughly.

Mr Salmond said: "For many months now, and on the advice of Senior Counsel, I have attempted to persuade the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government that she is behaving unlawfully in the application of a complaints procedure, introduced by her more than three years after I left office.

"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. I have not been allowed to see the evidence."

He went on: "The Permanent Secretary chose to deny me contact with any current civil servant, many of whom wished to give evidence on my behalf, and access to documentation to allow me to properly challenge the complaints, all of which I refute and some of which were patently ridiculous.

"The procedure as put into operation by the Permanent Secretary is grossly unfair and therefore inevitably will lead to prejudicial outcomes.

"It is therefore with great reluctance that I have today launched a Judicial Review in the Court of Session which will decide the issue of the lawfulness of the procedure which has been used against me."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Alex Salmond has initiated legal proceedings against the Scottish Government and as a result we are restricted in what we can say.

"However, the Scottish Government will defend its position vigorously. As a matter of principle and integrity, it is vital that any allegations of harassment are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly, regardless of the identity of the party involved."

Police Scotland did not comment on the Daily Record report.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Andrew Milligan / PA Wire.