Fresh calls for Sturgeon to suspend Salmond over allegations

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there is "no legal basis" to suspend Alex Salmond from the SNP, following accusations of sexual harassment. Picture:  Ian Rutherford
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there is "no legal basis" to suspend Alex Salmond from the SNP, following accusations of sexual harassment. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The SNP is under renewed pressure to suspend Alex Salmond from the party after details of the accusations against him were leaked to the media.

Salmond denies any wrongdoing. The former First Minister has been accused of inappropriate behaviour in December 2013 by two Scottish government employees.

Alex Salmond speaks to the press yesterday

Alex Salmond speaks to the press yesterday

READ MORE: Woman alleges Alex Salmond touched her breasts and bottom

In one of the allegations reported to the government, one woman is said to have repeatedly asked Salmond to stop touching her in an encounter in the bedroom at the First Minister’s official Edinburgh residence, Bute House.

The woman has alleged multiple instances of unwanted sexual attention during Salmond’s time in office, according to the Daily Record, which claims to have seen wording from her complaint.

She alleges that following an official engagement in December 2013 where the First Minister had been drinking alcohol, the pair found themselves alone.

She claims Salmond instructed her to move from a public area to the bedroom, and repeatedly offered her alcohol, despite her refusals.

He then told her to get on the bed before lying on top of her, kissing her and touching her breasts and bottom through her clothes, according to the report in the Daily Record.

An investigation into the two allegations by the Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans has concluded, and details have been passed to Police Scotland.

Salmond is mounting a legal challenge against the government’s handling of the complaints, claiming its procedures are “unjust”.

A fresh statement from Salmond issued yesterday said: “As Mr Salmond made very clear yesterday when he spoke to all media outlets, he intends to make no further comment on these matters until his petition for judicial review is heard in the Court of Session.

“This is done on legal advice and in the context that he refutes these complaints of impropriety and absolutely denies any suggestion of criminality.”

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said Sturgeon should suspend Salmond from the SNP immediately.

“Not to do so will send the wrong message to members in her party and the people of Scotland,” she said.

“People who experience harassment should be able to come forward in the knowledge there is a safe environment to do so and that the workplace they are in treats their complaint robustly.

“The SNP must do all it can to give complainants the support they need whoever the alleged perpetrator is and make clear that there is safe space for any other survivors to come forward.

“The First Minister has been too slow to act on these shocking allegations.

“Nicola Sturgeon must take action and she must do it now.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “We must respect the women who complained and allow due and fair process to continue so that the facts can be brought out.

“However, these revelations do raise questions about the way this matter was treated when it is alleged to have taken place, and these also need to be answered.

She added: “We need to see full transparency from the SNP and the Scottish Government.”

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary at the Scottish Government, said the two complaints were raised in January and Salmond was notified in March about an investigation. She intended to make a statement regarding the complaints this week but the move was halted after the former first minister initiated legal proceedings.

Sturgeon said she first heard about the investigation from Salmond in April and had no role in the complaints process.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “For legal reasons, the Scottish Government cannot comment on the nature of the complaints.”