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Alex Salmond denies allegations of sexual harassment

Former First Minister set to take Scottish Government to court over handling of complaints.

Alex Salmond has refuted allegations he sexually harrassed two staff members while he was First Minister.

The alleged incidents are said to have taken place at Bute House, the First Minister's official residence in Edinburgh, in 2013.

According to the Daily Record, which reported the story on Thursday night, the allegations have now been reported to police by the Scottish Government.

STV News has approached Police Scotland for comment.

Mr Salmond has denied the allegations and revealed he is taking legal action against the Scottish Government.

STV's Holyrood editor Colin Mackay told Scotland Tonight he had spoken to the former SNP leader, who he said was "very angry" about the claims.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Mr Salmond said: "For many months now, and on the advice of Senior Counsel, I have attempted to persuade the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government that she is behaving unlawfully in the application of a complaints procedure, introduced by her more than three years after I left office.

"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.

"I have tried everything, including offers of conciliation, mediation and legal arbitration to resolve these matters both properly and amicably.

"This would have been in everybody's interests, particularly those of the two complainants. All of these efforts have been rejected."

'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'
Alex Salmond

Mr Salmond continued: "The Permanent Secretary chose to deny me contact with any current civil servant, many of whom wished to give evidence on my behalf and access to documentation to allow me to properly challenge the complaints, all of which I refute and some of which were patently ridiculous.

"The procedure as put into operation by the Permanent Secretary is grossly unfair and therefore inevitably will lead to prejudicial outcomes.

"It is therefore with great reluctance that I have today launched a Judicial Review in the Court of Session which will decide the issue of the lawfulness of the procedure which has been used against me.

"If I lose then I will have to answer to the complaints both comprehensively and publicly.

"Until then I am bound to say nothing which would impinge on the Court proceedings."

He went on: "In our submissions on Judicial Review we have asked that the complainants' identity be protected.

"If the Court of Session finds in my favour then the administration at the senior levels of the Scottish Government will have the most serious questions to answer.

"In my opinion and for whatever reason the Permanent Secretary has decided to mount a process against me using an unlawful procedure which she herself introduced.

"I will let a real court decide whether it was lawful for her to do so."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Alex Salmond has initiated legal proceedings against the Scottish Government and as a result we are restricted in what we can say.

"However, the Scottish Government will defend its position vigorously. As a matter of principle and integrity, it is vital that any allegations of harassment are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly, regardless of the identity of the party involved."

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