Poll: Handling of Alex Salmond case damages SNP’s credibility

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The Scottish Government’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment made against Alex Salmond has damaged the credibility of the SNP, a poll has suggested.

A survey of 1,000 Scots was carried out in the wake of a Court of Session ruling which found a civil service inquiry into the former SNP leader, who denies the allegations, was “unlawful” as a result of its “procedural unfairness”.

Allegations that Alex Salmond sexually harassed two women have been followed by an outbreak of civil war between two factions in the SNP. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Allegations that Alex Salmond sexually harassed two women have been followed by an outbreak of civil war between two factions in the SNP. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Mr Salmond has been critical of his former deputy Nicola Sturgeon and her government over the handling of the case. A separate police inquiry, unrelated to the Court of Session ruling, is continuing.

The snap survey by Censuswide Scotland asked respondents: “Has SNP credibility been damaged by handling of the Salmond harassment allegations?”

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The poll, commissioned by the Scottish Mail on Sunday, found that 42 per cent said Yes, 32 per cent said No and 26 per cent were Unsure. Of those that expressed an opinion, 57 per cent responded Yes and 43 per cent opted No.

Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “What the public see is a battle of two egos at the top of the SNP.

“Instead of sorting domestic issues and getting on with governing, the SNP is completely distracted by internal warfare.

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “With the clock ticking down to Brexit date - and with the Tory government incapable of governing and Labour incapable of effectively opposing - the SNP will continue to focus on standing up for Scotland’s interests in the face of a disastrous Tory-driven Brexit and further austerity, and setting out the case for Scotland thriving as an independent nation.”

Mr Salmond yesterday called on his successor to seize on the turmoil over Brexit engulfing Westminster by pushing for a second poll, while other leading figures within the party urged caution.

The former Nationalist leader also pledged to end the “uncivil war” with Ms Sturgeon’s camp that has developed amid the fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against him.