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Alex Salmond: ‘I have not sexually harassed anyone’

A newspaper has published details of one of the complaints of sexual harassment made against Alex Salmond.

The Daily Record claims to have seen the wording of an allegation by a Scottish government staff member.

She alleges the former first minister touched her bottom and breasts through her clothing while she was alone with him at Bute House, the paper reports.

Mr Salmond strenuously denies the claims and insists he has never sexually harassed anyone.

He has described the claims as “patently ridiculous” and said he is taking the Scottish government court to contest the complaints process activated against him.

The alleged incident reported by the Daily Record is said to have taken place at the first minister’s official residence Bute House in Edinburgh in the first week of December 2013.

The paper claims the woman alleges “multiple incidences of harassment and conduct of an unwanted sexual nature”.

The newspaper, which broke the story late on Thursday, says the allegations, and those of a second complainer have been passed to the police.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are carrying out an assessment of information which we have received and enquiries are at an early stage.”

In a BBC interview on Friday Mr Salmond said he made “made many mistakes” in life but strenuously denied the sexual harassment complaints.

He said the complaints procedure activated against him was unjust and did not allow him to present his case.

Mr Salmond said that “with great reluctance” he had now launched a judicial review against the Scottish government at the Court of Session.

He said that if he lost the case he would answer the complaints against him “both comprehensively and publicly” but also warned that if the court finds in his favour, “the administration at the senior levels of the Scottish government will have the most serious questions to answer”.

Leslie Evans, permanent secretary at the Scottish government, said an internal review was launched last year into the Scottish government’s procedures for handling complaints in the workplace in light of wider concerns about harassment at Westminster and Holyrood.

As part of that review, a new procedure on handling harassment complaints involving current or former ministers was introduced.

Alex Salmond

  • Leader of Scottish National Party 1990-2000 and 2004-2014
  • First Minister of Scotland 2007 – 2014
  • Stood down after Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom

She said two complaints were raised in January against Mr Salmond and he was notified in March about an investigation.

Mr Salmond’s successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the situation was “difficult for me to come to terms with” given her long history with Mr Salmond, but claims “could not be ignored”.

Ms Sturgeon revealed that she first informed of the investigation by Mr Salmond himself in April and had no prior knowledge of complaints being made against him.

Mr Salmond was first minister and SNP leader until September 2014, stepping down after Scottish voters rejected independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.

The following year he elected as the SNP MP for Gordon in 2015 and became the party’s foreign affairs spokesman before losing the seat in the snap general election two years later.

Recently he has faced heavy criticism for hosting the Alex Salmond Show on Russian broadcaster RT, which has been described as a propaganda channel for the Kremlin – a claim Mr Salmond has denied.