SNP leadership contest: Ash Regan refuses to answer bullying question at campaign launch

Ash Regan refused to answer whether she was a bully at the launch of her campaign to become first minister.

The former community safety minister hit the headlines in 2019 when it was revealed in the Herald four members of her office had signed gagging orders and been paid off.

Her office was also accused of disability discrimination.

Asked whether staff had signed the orders to keep them quiet, the leadership contender said: “What we need to remember with those types of agreements is they protect people on both sides.”

Ash Regan at the DoubleTree By Hilton hotel in North Queensferry. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA WireAsh Regan at the DoubleTree By Hilton hotel in North Queensferry. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Ash Regan at the DoubleTree By Hilton hotel in North Queensferry. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
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Pressed on whether she was a bully, her campaign team swiftly brought the question-and-answer session to a halt as she walked away, refusing to be drawn on the question.

It is understood the Scottish Parliament stopped the use of non-disclosure agreements, which often accompany a cash pay-out following an employment dispute, due to the number being used by the former minister.

In 2019, it was reported Ms Regan had settled a dispute with one former employee who had lodged a complaint over an allegation she had breached confidentiality around personal details.

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to stymie any negative press about a high-profile individual, as they force signatories to commit to never speaking publicly about the incidents connected to the gagging clauses.

Their use in public life is controversial, but are used regularly in the corporate world and in universities and other areas of the public sector.

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