Key points from Alex Salmond’s evidence

The former first minister appeared before MSPs on the Committee on the Scottish Government’s Handling of Harassment Complaints.

Key points from Alex Salmond’s evidence

Here are the key points from Alex Salmond’s evidence to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

– No apology

The former first minister was asked if he wanted to say “sorry” for behaviours he had previously admitted – with Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton saying some of these were “appalling”.

But Mr Salmond said he was “resting” on the verdicts of two courts cases – the Court of Session finding the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against him to be illegal and the criminal case at the High Court in Edinburgh at which he was cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault.

Mr Salmond said the “Government’s illegality has had huge consequences for a number of people”.

And he stated: “Over the last three years, there have been two court cases, two judges and a jury, and I’m resting on the proceedings of these cases.”

Labour’s Jackie Baillie, who raised this issue with the current First Minister in Holyrood on Thursday, asked if the name of one of the complainers had been shared at a meeting Mr Aberdein had been at.

Mr Salmond, giving evidence under oath, said: “My former chief of staff told me that.”

– Evidence of ‘suppression’ claims

Mr Salmond believes there has been a “calculated and deliberate suppression of key evidence” to the committee, saying it had been “systematically deprived of the evidence it has legitimately sought”.

This, he claimed, resulted in the committee having to carry out its investigation “with both hands tied behind its back and a blindfold on”.

He went on to state there was a “pattern of non-disclosure” that “goes right through the judicial review, right through the criminal case and right into this committee”.

The former first minister added: “It’s not the odd document that’s been missed out, it is a sequence of deliberate suppression of information inconvenient to the Government.”

Harassment allegation committee hearing
Former first minister Alex Salmond is sworn in (Andy Buchanan/PA)

“The Government acted illegally but somehow nobody is to blame,” he told MSPs.

He insisted “some consequences” should follow from the “unlawful conduct” in the way it handled harassment allegations against him.

Mr Salmond stated: “Scotland hasn’t failed, its leadership has failed.

“The importance of this inquiry is for each and everyone of us to help put this right.”

Alex Salmond took the Scottish Government to court for the way it handled harassment allegations made against him (Jane Barlow/PA)

The former first minister was asked if, prior to November 2017, Nicola Sturgeon had raised questions or concerns with him about sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Salmond said: “I have got points to make about what I believe the current First Minister has done or not done, and they will be made in response to relevant questions, relevant to the committee.

“But I’ve seen it pursued on the committee that somehow Nicola Sturgeon was covering up something, that is not the case.”

– Nicola Sturgeon’s call for evidence

Mr Salmond however rejected calls this week from Ms Sturgeon that he should provide evidence to back up his claims of a conspiracy.

He stressed it was the Scottish Government who had been “found to have acted unlawfully, unfairly and tainted by apparent bias” by the Court of Session.

He added: “I note that the First Minister asserts I have to prove a case, I don’t. That has already been done. There have been two court cases, two judges, one jury.

“In this inquiry it is the Scottish Government, a government which has already admitted to behaving unlawfully, who are under examination.”

But he said the First Minister was aware of complaints against him in March – not April as she has previously told the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Sturgeon has said she first learned of the allegations when Mr Salmond came to her home on April 2.

Mr Salmond said however: “I know that she knew on March 29”.

Harassment allegation committee hearing
Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans (Russell Cheyne/PA)

Mr Salmond called for the Lord Advocate and the head of Scotland’s civil service, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, to resign over the handling of the complaints against him.

But while he said he had “no doubt” Nicola Sturgeon has broken rules governing the behaviour of ministers, he stopped short saying she should resign.

“I have no doubt that Nicola broke the ministerial code but it’s not for me to suggest what the consequence should be,” he said.

– Leaking of story to the Daily Record

The Daily Record newspaper broke the story in August 2018 of the complaints against the former first minister.

Mr Salmond said a leak to the newspaper about this was “politically inspired” as he called for further police investigation into the matter.

He stated: “If they (civil servants) do leak, they don’t leak to the political editor of the Daily Record. Therefore I think the leak was politically inspired.

“I think the matter shouldn’t be at an end, I think it’s a hugely serious matter.”

He added: “I think it does require further police investigation – I do believe I know the identity but I’m not here to speculate on individuals that I cannot substantiate.”

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