Alex Salmond allegations: No details of contact with Sturgeon to be released

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Pictures: TSPL
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Pictures: TSPL

The Scottish Government is refusing to divulge whether it holds details of contact between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon over the sexual harassment claims which have rocked Scottish politics.

A series of Freedom of Information responses released by ministers warns that the fear of prejudicing the forthcoming court case means they cannot "confirm or deny" if any details exist of the meetings.

Mr Salmond has already admitted that he had been in touch with Ms Sturgeon on three occasions about two complaints of sexual harassment made against him relating to his time as First Minister. He denies any allegations of harassment.

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The current SNP leader insists she made it clear she could not get involved in the case, but no further information about the contacts have been made public.

The Scottish Government has now released more than 20 responses to FOI requests seeking details in relation to Salmond's contact with Ms Sturgeon, as well as information connected to the case more broadly. But the responses follow a similar pattern.

"We cannot confirm or deny whether any information is held," ministers state.

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Ministers say they are applying section 18(1) in conjunction with section 35(1)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act which means information is "exempt if disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice substantially the administration of justice."

It was confirmed this week that Mr Salmond's judicial review of the procedures used by the Scottish Government to investigate claims against him will be heard in the Court of Session in the coming months, after ministers set out their intention to contest it.