Former First Minister Alex Salmond has called for the resignation of Scotland’s top civil servant after winning a legal case against the Scottish Government over how it handled sexual harassment allegations against him.
Mr Salmond’s legal team successfully argued that the Scottish Government had acted unlawfully in the way it handled the allegations of sexual misconduct - which he denies - against him.
The former First Minister in a statement hailing his procedural victory said that Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government, should ‘consider her position’.
Ms Evans has so far retained the support of Mr Salmond’s successor Nicola Sturgeon, who said in a statement that today’s decision at the Court of Session “was never about the substance of the complaints” against Mr Salmond.
The Scottish Government said that it could reopen an investigation into the complaints, which date from 2013, after the conclusion of a police probe which is still ongoing.
We look at the key dates and events in the saga which has lasted over six months.
Late on the evening of Thursday August 2018, news first emerged in the Daily Record that Mr Salmond had been reported to the police over allegations of sexual harassment against him.
The tabloid wrote: “The former SNP leader has been accused of carrying out an attack on one of the female employees in the First Minister’s official Edinburgh residence in December 2013.”
Even as the political world reeled from the news of the investigation, Mr Salmond initiated legal proceedings against the Scottish Government, lodging a submission for a judicial review against the decision to disclose the complaints and the way they were investigated.
In a statement, Mr Salmond wrote: “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.”
Statements by both Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon dominate the news agenda, as the First Minister says that while personally difficult for her, the allegations ‘could not be ignored’, while Mr Salmond used a BBC interview to say: “I have made many mistakes in my life, political and personal.
“But I have not sexually harassed anyone and I certainly have not been engaged in criminality.”
The First Minister echoed the comments of Leslie Evans when she told the same network: “The Scottish government refutes his criticisms of its process and will defend its position vigorously.”
Further details of the allegations are published in the Daily Record, which claims to have seen the official wording of a complaint, and reported that a woman alleged Salmond instructed her to join him in his bedroom and offered her alcohol, which she repeatedly refused. The newspaper went goes on to report that he asked her to get into bed with him before lying on top of her, kissing her and touching her bottom and breasts through her clothes.
Mr Salmond announced that he had resigned his membership of the SNP, the party he lead during some of the most significant moments in Scottish political history.
The former leader also launched a crowdfunding appeal to help finance the action he was taking against the Scottish Government, reaching a £100k target in a matter of hours.
The Scottish Government formally notifies the Court of Session, the highest court in the land, that it intends to contest the judicial review brought against it by Mr Salmond, confirming again that it will ‘vigorously’ defend its position.
The case is called in court for the first time, in what is known as a ‘procedural hearing’.
Mr Salmond wins in court after a judge rules that the actions of the Scottish Government are unlawful. He calls for the resignation of Leslie Evans and warns that the cost to the public purse could rise as high as £500,000.