24/08/2018 11:42 BST | Updated 24/08/2018 13:38 BST

Alex Salmond Sexual Harassment Allegations Are 'Extremely Difficult,' Says Nicola Sturgeon

First minister says she has known 'for some time' about the accusations.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the allegations of sexual harassment made against her predecessor Alex Salmond have been “extremely difficult” for her to come to terms with.

The Scottish first minister said on Friday she had been aware for “some time” of the investigation into the former SNP leader, but had no role in the process.

Salmond has denied claims made against him and has launched court action to contest the government complaints process.

The Scottish Government confirmed this morning it received two complaints in January this year regarding the former SNP leader and first minister.

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In a statement soon after the confirmation, Sturgeon said: “My relationship with Alex Salmond obviously makes this an extremely difficult situation for me to come to terms with.

“I am also acutely aware how upsetting this will be for my party. However the over-riding priority must be to ensure fair and due process.”

Sturgeon took over as first minister after Salmond quit following Scotland’s vote against independence in 2014.

“Although I have been aware for some time of the fact of the investigation – initially from Alex Salmond – I have had no role in the process, and to have referred to it before now would have compromised the integrity of the internal investigation,” Sturgeon said today. She added that the government would “vigorously” defend itself against Salmond.

The Daily Record reported that allegations about his conduct towards two staff members in 2013 – while he was in office – have been handed to police.

In a statement, Salmond denied the claims and said he has been prevented from properly challenging them by Scottish Government procedure.

“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 said.