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Salmond urges inquiry into leak of harassment complaints

The former First Minister has criticised 'flagrant' breaches of his confidentiality.

Alex Salmond: 'Confidentiality on such matters is crucial.' <strong>SWNS</strong>
Alex Salmond: 'Confidentiality on such matters is crucial.' SWNS

Alex Salmond has written to Scotland’s top civil servant asking for an inquiry into how sexual harassment complaints against him were made public.

The former First Minister has written to the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary Leslie Evans urging her to investigate the leaks.

He said someone within the government had “flagrantly and repeatedly” breached his right to confidentiality in the complaints process by supplying details to the Daily Record newspaper.

The government previously said its investigation into the two allegations against Mr Salmond has been “entirely confidential throughout”.

And speaking on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated this, saying: “This matter has been under investigation within the Scottish Government since January, so for eight months, and in all of that time it has remained entirely confidential.”

The complaints date back to December 2013, when Salmond was still in office, and supposedly took place in Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister.

He strongly denies the allegations and has launched legal action against the Scottish Government over the probe.

A statement released on his behalf said: “It is manifestly absurd for the permanent secretary to claim that her procedure is ‘confidential’ when it is splashed over the front pages, emanating from briefings to a single newspaper.

“As explained many times now, confidentiality on such matters is crucial to both complainers and those complained about.

“Without it those who wish to make a complaint can have no confidence in the system protecting them while those complained about are denied fairness.

“Someone within the Scottish Government has flagrantly, and repeatedly, breached that requirement and the permanent secretary is now required to try and find out who it was.”

The allegations about Mr Salmond’s conduct towards two women first emerged last week when the former MP released a statement prompted by an inquiry from the Daily Record.

The newspaper published what it claimed were details of one of the complaints over the weekend.

Police Scotland confirmed on Friday that the complaints have been passed to the force but said its assessment of the claims was still at an early stage.

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond is taking court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process activated against him.

Opposition parties have called for “full transparency” over its investigation, with Labour requesting all public details of meetings between Mr Salmond and the First Minister since the investigation began.

In response to questions from the Scottish Conservatives on Monday, the Scottish Government confirmed it had not received any complaints about Mr Salmond prior to January.

A government spokesman said: “For legal reasons we are unable to provide further detail at this time.

“However, in the fullness of time the Scottish Government will seek to make available as much information as it can.”

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