I'M NO SAINT; Salmond's Confession as He Denies Sex Harassment; Complaints 'Can't Be Swept under Carpet' Says Sturgeon; SNP Civil War as Courtcase and Police Probes Loom; Salmond. ACCUSED; Salmond in Sex Claim Storm

Daily Mail (London), August 25, 2018 | Go to article overview

I'M NO SAINT; Salmond's Confession as He Denies Sex Harassment; Complaints 'Can't Be Swept under Carpet' Says Sturgeon; SNP Civil War as Courtcase and Police Probes Loom; Salmond. ACCUSED; Salmond in Sex Claim Storm


Byline: Michael Blackley Scottish Political Editor

ALEX Salmond yesterday admitted he is 'no saint' as police began probing extraordinary allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his time as First Minister.

The former SNP leader made a series of admissions but denied he had sexually harassed anyone or been involved in criminality, amid an explosive legal battle with the Scottish Government.

Mr Salmond said that he had made 'mistakes' in his personal and political life after Scotland's top civil servant confirmed she had concluded an investigation into allegations by two staff members relating to his time in office five years ago.

The revelations emerged late on Thursday evening. Yesterday, in a day of dramatic developments: ? Police confirmed that they are now examining allegations made against Mr Salmond.

The Scottish Government confirmed it had concluded its investigations into two complaints and intended to make the findings public, before being blocked by legal action from the former First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon said that the issue cannot be allowed to be 'swept under the carpet' or ignored and spoke of finding it 'extremely difficult' to come to terms with - and that it was 'upsetting' for the party.

Mr Salmond launched a remarkable media crusade as he waged war on the Government he used to lead.

Scotland's top civil servant accused the former First Minister of 'significant inaccuracies' in his response to the allegations.

Opponents called for the SNP to suspend his membership of the party.

Yesterday, Leslie Evans, the Scottish Government's Permanent Secretary, confirmed that an internal investigation into the two complaints had been concluded.

A shaken Miss Sturgeon yesterday admitted that she had known about the allegations 'for some time' and was struggling to come to terms with them.

In a statement, she confirmed that the complaints were considered as part of an internal procedure for handling harassment issues.

The investigation was launched in January 2018, and Miss Sturgeon said that she was made aware of it by Mr Salmond.

The First Minister said: 'I have been clear on many occasions that all organisations and workplaces must make it possible for people to come forward to report concerns and have confidence that they will be treated seriously.

'For that principle to mean anything it cannot be applied selectively. It must be applied without fear or favour, regardless of the identity, seniority or political allegiance of the person involved.

'My relationship with Alex Salmond obviously makes this an extremely difficult situation for me to come to terms with. I am also acutely aware how upsetting this will be for my party.

'However, the over-riding priority must be to ensure fair and due process. I would also ask that the privacy of those who have complained be respected.' Police Scotland yesterday confirmed that it is conducting an 'assessment' of allegations made against the former First Minister.

A spokesman said: 'We are carrying out an assessment of information which we have received and inquiries are at an early stage.' The preliminary assessment will evaluate evidence, then officers will decide whether a formal probe is necessary.

Mrs Evans said she informed Mr Salmond on Wednesday of the conclusions of her own investigation, and that she felt it was in the 'public interest' to make the 'facts of the complaint and investigation publicly known'.

Yesterday, she said: 'Following legal proceedings instigated by Mr Salmond yesterday that statement was delayed.

'However, given that Mr Salmond subsequently dropped those proceedings I am now able to confirm the fact of the complaints.' Mr Salmond immediately condemned the decision to go public when the allegations were reported on Thursday evening.

He said the Permanent Secretary was 'acting unlawfully' in the way she dealt with the complaint and he had been denied the opportunity to speak to civil servants who could be witnesses. …

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I'M NO SAINT; Salmond's Confession as He Denies Sex Harassment; Complaints 'Can't Be Swept under Carpet' Says Sturgeon; SNP Civil War as Courtcase and Police Probes Loom; Salmond. ACCUSED; Salmond in Sex Claim Storm
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