Renewed calls for SNP to suspend Salmond over sexual harassment claims

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Scottish Labour has issued a fresh call for the SNP to suspend Alex Salmond, claiming Nicola Sturgeon was “too slow to act” on allegations of sexual harassment.

It comes as the Daily Record newspaper published what it claimed were details of one of two complaints against the former first minister investigated by the Scottish Government.

Mr Salmond strongly denies the allegations and has launched legal action against the government over the probe.

The claims about his conduct towards two staff members in 2013 – while he was in office – have been handed to Police Scotland.

“Not to do so will send the wrong message to members in her party and the people of Scotland,” she said.

“People who experience harassment should be able to come forward in the knowledge there is a safe environment to do so and that the workplace they are in treats their complaint robustly.

“The SNP must do all it can to give complainants the support they need whoever the alleged perpetrator is and make clear that there is safe space for any other survivors to come forward.

“The First Minister has been too slow to act on these shocking allegations. Nicola Sturgeon must take action and she must do it now.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “We must respect the women who complained and allow due and fair process to continue so that the facts can be brought out.

“However, these revelations do raise questions about the way this matter was treated when it is alleged to have taken place, and these also need to be answered.

She added: “We need to see full transparency from the SNP and the Scottish Government.”

A fresh statement from Mr Salmond issued on Saturday said: “As Mr Salmond made very clear yesterday when he spoke to all media outlets, he intends to make no further comment on these matters until his petition for judicial review is heard in the Court of Session.

“This is done on legal advice and in the context that he refutes these complaints of impropriety and absolutely denies any suggestion of criminality.”

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary at the Scottish Government, said the two complaints were raised in January and Mr Salmond was notified in March about an investigation.

She intended to make a statement regarding the complaints this week but the move was halted after the former first minister initiated legal proceedings.

Ms Sturgeon said she first heard about the investigation from Mr Salmond in April and had no role in the complaints process.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “For legal reasons, the Scottish Government cannot comment on the nature of the complaints.”

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