Scotland's ex-leader accused of sexual misconduct after #MeToo review

Yes And No Campaigns Take To The Streets Of Edinburgh And Glasgow
Alex Salmond campaigned for Scottish independence in a 2014 vote. Copyright Jeff J Mitchell
Copyright Jeff J Mitchell
By Alastair Jamieson with NBC News World News
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Scotland's former leader denies the allegations and is suing government officials over their handling of the complaints.


LONDON — Scotland's former leader has been accused of sexual misconduct while in power as part of a wider review inspired by the #MeToo movement.

Alex Salmond, who is member of the ruling pro-independence Scottish National Party, faces two allegations of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2013 when he was the country's first minister.

The complaints were made in January in the wake of "wider concerns about harassment" in British politics, the Scottish government's most senior official, Leslie Evans, said in a statement released Friday.

"I have not been allowed to see the evidence."

Salmond preempted her statement Thursday by announcing his intention to sue over the complaints process.

The 63-year-old denies the allegations, some of which he described as "patently ridiculous."

Salmond led Scotland's first pro-independence government from 2007 until 2014, when he stepped aside after narrowly losing a referendum on Scottish separation from the United Kingdom.

The allegations have been passed on to the police by the Scottish government, according to the Daily Record newspaper — which broke the story. One of the attacks is alleged to have taken place in Bute House, the historic building used at the official residence for Scotland's first ministers, it said.

Police Scotland declined to comment on whether an inquiry is ongoing.

Salmond did not confirm any details but in a statement called the complaints procedure "unjust" and said he was seeking a judicial review at Scotland's Court of Session.

"For many months now … I have attempted to persuade [Evans] that she is behaving unlawfully in the application of a complaints procedure," he said. "This is a procedure so unjust that even now I have not been allowed to see and therefore to properly challenge the case against me. I have not been allowed to see the evidence."

Alex Salmond.
Alex Salmond.Leon Neal

In her statement, Evans said the government would "defend its position vigorously."

"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," she said. "In line with work already underway in the organization to tackle inappropriate behavior, I will consider carefully any issues about culture and working practices highlighted by these complaints."


The U.K.'s Westminster parliament in London was rocked last year by sexual misconduct allegations that shone a light on its boozy "locker room culture" and even triggered a ministerial resignation.

Just as in Hollywood following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, several figures in U.K. politics came forward to say they had been victims of sexual misconduct stretching back decades. The allegations have ranged from inappropriate remarks to rape.

It prompted a wider review into the culture and working environment in British politics.

Salmond's successor, Nicola Sturgeon, said Friday that it was important that complaints were "investigated without fear or favor" and reiterated that the government would defend its handling of Salmond's case.

As well as being former lawmaker in the Scottish Parliament, Salmond previously also served in the British parliament in London.


He now hosts a talk show on RT, the Kremlin-backed Russian TV channel.

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