Nicola Sturgeon backs civil servant in Alex Salmond case

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Nicola Sturgeon has given her backing to Scotland’s top civil servant after the collapse of the harassment case involving Alex Salmond.

The First Minister will address MSPs at Holyrood this afternoon on the dramatic Court of Session climbdown by her Government which was found to have acted unlawfully in the way in investigated sexual harassment claims against her predecessor.

Nicola Sturgeon with Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans (left) during a Scottish Government cabinet meeting in Bute House in 2017

Nicola Sturgeon with Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans (left) during a Scottish Government cabinet meeting in Bute House in 2017

Salmond called on Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans to “consider her position” after today’s court case - and told Ms Sturgeon to focus on winning Scottish independence.

READ MORE: Scottish Government acted unlawfully over sexual harassment complaint

Ms Evans apologised but does not plan to quit - and a spokesman for Ms Sturgeon backed the civil servant.

“The First Minister has fill confidence in the permanent Secretary - that’s the position,” the spokesman said.

Mr Salmond pointed to the Scottish Government’s position that the collapse of the case was down to “institutional” failings.

“I think that institutional responsibility lies with the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government.

“In the documents now in care of the court it was clear that this process was under draft by the civil service weeks before it was even commissioned by any Scottish Government minister.”

He added: “I suggest the Permanent Secretary now accepts that responsibility and considers her position.”

The ex-SNP leader said his successor should focus on winning Scottish independence.

“My view on what Nicola Sturgeon should do now is that she should concentrate on achieving independence for Scotland - particularly in the current political circumstances.”