24/08/2018 08:00 BST | Updated 24/08/2018 17:35 BST

Alex Salmond Takes Scottish Government To Court Over Handling Of Sexual Assault Claims

The former first minister has denied the allegations.

Alex Salmond has denied claims of sexual assault made against him and plans to take the Scottish government to court following the complaints.

The Scottish Government confirmed on Friday morning it received two complaints in January this year regarding the former first minister.

Salmond released a public rebuttal on Thursday after the Daily Record reported that allegations about his conduct towards two members of staff in 2013 – while he was in office – have been handed to police.

He denied the claims and said he has been prevented from properly challenging them by Scottish government procedure.

Salmond, 63, said he has launched a court action to contest the complaints process that was activated against him.

The Scottish government said it was vital any allegations of harassment were investigated thoroughly.

In a statement posted on Twitter, 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.”

He went on: “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.”

Speaking at a press conference later on Friday, Salmond would not be drawn on the details of the allegations, or on whether he was aware of any other complaints against him.

Asked about his reference to past mistakes during a briefing with reporters, he said: “I’m not going to give you a list of mistakes I think I’ve made. I can’t talk about the complaints (the allegations examined by the Scottish Government) but what I can say is I refute them.”

Pressed further on whether concerns over the nature of his conduct had been raised during his time in office, Salmond said: “I’m here to talk about the complaints that have been made against me, which I refute, and it’s not a question I can answer.

“I’m not going to go into a list of things I did or didn’t do when I was first minister, who I did or didn’t speak to.

“What I can say is the complaints made against me don’t have a foundation and I have never engaged in criminality.”

Salmond was first minister of Scotland between 2007 and 2014, standing down after Scotland voted against independence. 

He also led the SNP between 1990 to 2000 and 2004 to 2014.

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.”

Police Scotland did not comment on the Daily Record report.