Alex Salmond: Holyrood inquiry into sexual misconduct probe to convene next week

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA Wire
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA Wire

A Scottish Parliament inquiry into how the Scottish Government handled allegations of sexual misconduct against former First Minister Alex Salmond will meet for the first time next week.

Official paperwork relating to the ‘Committee on the Scottish Government handling of harassment complaints’ was lodged for the first time in parliament earlier today.

However, it was confirmed that the probe will not begin collecting evidence until after legal proceedings against Alex Salmond have concluded, which could take several months.

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Mr Salmond appeared in court in January facing charges of two counts of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.

The former First Minister has strongly denied any criminality.

The committee is therefore expected to suspend itself once the first meeting gets underway at Holyrood on Wednesday.

It’s core inquiry is into how the Scottish Government internally handled two complaints of sexual misconduct that were levelled against Alex Salmond last year.

Mr Salmond challenged the process in court, leaving the Scottish Government with an expected six-figure legal bill.

The paper for the meeting reads: “When discussing the establishment of the committee, the Parliamentary Bureau acknowledged the ongoing police investigation into allegations involving the former First Minister.

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“The Bureau agreed that the committee inquiry should not impede, interfere with or replicate this investigation, nor should it prejudice any subsequent legal proceedings.

“Court proceedings against Mr Salmond are now active and, as such, and as confirmed by the Presiding Officer, the Parliament’s sub judice rule now applies.”

Former SNP Minister Linda Fabiani is expected to be appointed convenor of the committee, which states it will “consider and report on the actions of the First Minister, Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints about Alex Salmond, former First Minister, considered under the Scottish Government’s “Handling of harassment complaints involving current or former ministers” procedure and actions in relation to the Scottish Ministerial Code.”

A further probe into whether First Minister Nicola Sturgeon breached the ministerial code has also been temporarily halted.