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Sturgeon: Holyrood must have zero tolerance of sex abuse

A lawyer has alleged he knows of a number of victims at the Scottish Parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister has written to Holyrood's presiding officer.
Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister has written to Holyrood's presiding officer. PA Images

The First Minister has urged the Scottish Parliament to take a "zero tolerance" approach to any allegations of sexual abuse by MSPs.

Nicola Sturgeon pressed Holyrood's presiding officer, Ken Macintosh, over the matter in a letter on Monday.

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar has alleged in recent days he has spoken to a number of female MSPs and their staff who have been victims of sexual abuse or harassment.

No one has yet come forward to make a complaint regarding any inappropriate behaviour at Holyrood following similar allegations at Westminster but a Holyrood spokesman confirmed complaints have been made within the last five years.

He added the number of allegations made in recent years is in "single figures".

Macintosh, in a joint statement with Holyrood chief executive Sir Paul Grice, announced later on Monday they he have instructed Holyrood authorities to create "a dedicated, confidential phone-line to provide those directly affected or concerned about sexual harassment with a professional source of advice."

In the letter, Sturgeon said: "We need to do everything in our power to make sure that the Scottish Parliament is a workplace where there is zero tolerance of such unacceptable behaviours.

"As part of that, it is vital to ensure that robust procedures are in place so that individuals who raise concerns have confidence that they will be fully investigated in an appropriate manner."

The leaders of Holyrood's five political parties will meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1401008-women-at-scottish-parliament-sexually-harassed/ | default

Mr Anwar told BBC Radio Scotland: "I've spoken to people, everybody from interns to also MSPs who have experienced sexual abuse.

"It is a catalogue of abuse, everything from cyber stalking to touching up to inappropriate behaviour to actual physical assault, and nothing has been done about it, there is a lack of confidence in the procedures."

The claims follow allegations of widespread sexual harassment at Westminster.

Mark Garnier, a minister in the department for international trade, has admitted asking a female aide to buy him sex toys and using inappropriate language to address her by.

He denies his actions constituted harassment but he is now subject to an investigation by the Cabinet Office.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson announced on Wednesday she has ordered her party to review its whistleblowing system.

Davidson said: "We have established procedures in place to ensure people can raise concerns directly and in confidence.

"In the light of this weekend's allegations, I have asked for those procedures to be reviewed so we can be certain that everyone who works for us feels reassured. We cannot be complacent."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1400957-jeremy-corbyn-warped-and-degrading-abuse-culture-thrives-in-westminster/ | default

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