Former First Minister Alex Salmond faces complaints of sexual harassment arising during his time at Holyrood.
This has been revealed in a series of tweets and statements, both written and verbal, amid strong denials by Mr Salmond.
The former First Minister is now seeking a Judicial Review but has dropped the interdict proceedings which would have been heard at the Court of Session today – and which would have prevented the Permanent Secretary from making any of this public.
Firstly last night Mr Salmond issued this statement :
Statement from Alex Salmond pic.twitter.com/DUOTS7MriX
— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) August 23, 2018
The Permanent Secretary at The Scottish Government Leslie Evans issued this statement this morning :
“Last November, I agreed with the First Minister that, in light of wider concerns about harassment in Westminster and the Scottish Parliament, an internal review would be carried out into the Scottish Government’s procedures for handling complaints in the workplace. As part of that review, a new procedure on handling harassment complaints involving current or former ministers was introduced.
“Following the conclusion of an internal investigation I can confirm that the Scottish Government received two complaints in January in relation to Alex Salmond. Mr Salmond was notified of the complaints in March and the details of the procedure under which the complaints would be addressed.
“I informed Mr Salmond and the people involved on Wednesday, August 22 of my conclusions and that I was considering the public interest in making the fact of the complaints and investigation publically known.
“Mr Salmond was subsequently given notice that I intended to make a statement referring to the fact of the complaints.
“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.
“I note that the former First Minister has indicated his intention to challenge the actions taken by the Scottish Government. His statement contains significant inaccuracies which will be addressed in those court proceedings. The Scottish Government will defend its position vigorously.
“You will appreciate that for legal reasons the Scottish Government is limited in what can be said.
“The First Minister has had no role in this process. I advised her of the conclusions of my investigation on Wednesday and she is of course aware that I am making this statement today.
“As the head of the Civil Service in Scotland, I have been consistently clear that there is no place for harassment of any kind in the workplace.
“In line with work already underway in the organisation to tackle inappropriate behaviour, I will consider carefully any issues about culture and working practices highlighted by these complaints.”
This has then led to a statement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon :
Please see statement below. pic.twitter.com/LaTKotwdA8
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 24, 2018
Meanwhile the Scottish Labour Party have suggested that Mr Salmond should meantime be suspended from the SNP. Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Monica Lennon said: “Given the serious nature of these allegations, it would be appropriate that the SNP suspends Alex Salmond’s membership of the party with immediate effect.”