The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon, has been warned that it would be completely unacceptable to keep hidden from the public the nature of her discussions with Alex Elliot Anderson Salmond, a former First Minister of Scotland, who was accused of sexual misconduct.
The 63 year old politician who served as the First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014 and the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for over twenty years from 1990 to 2000 and then from 2004 to 2014, reportedly touched the bottom and breasts of a former Scottish government female staff member.
According to Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, the woman allegedly told investigators that it actually took repeated requests to stop Mr. Salmond’s advances at her.
The woman noted that the incident happened in the bedroom one night in December 2013 at the Bute House, Edinburgh, when she was alone with the former First Minister who had been drinking.
Salmond is accused of telling her to move from one of the public rooms to his bedchamber where he allegedly offered her drink, which she rejected. He then told her to get into bed before he lay on top of her and kissed her, touching her bottom and breasts.
She had to repeatedly ask him to stop before he listened.
There are reports of Mr. Salmond harassment and conduct of unwanted sexual advances during his time in office. There is also a second individual who reportedly complained of his behaviour.
The politician who described the allegations as “patently ridiculous” had however vehemently denied the allegations, saying that he has never sexually harassed anyone.
“I have made many mistakes in my life, political and personal, but I have not sexually harassed anyone and I certainly have not been engaged in criminality,” he said.
The opposition parties however demanded full transparency and called on Mrs. Sturgeon to reveal the discussions in the three meetings with Mr. Salmond.
Scottish Labour had requested the SNP to suspend Salmond. “Not to do so will send the wrong message to members in her party and the people of Scotland,” MSP Rhoda Grant said.
According to Sturgeon however, there was no legal basis on which to suspend the former First Minister from the SNP, adding that in other cases where SNP politicians had been suspended, the investigations had been carried out by the party. But Mr. Salmond’s case was not reported to the SNP directly.
“It’s been a Scottish Government investigation and for legal reasons right now, the information cannot be shared with the SNP,” she said.
Labour noted that it would like to know whether the former First Minister had asked his successor to intervene in the investigation. It further submitted freedom of information requests in an effort to expose what was discussed between Sturgeon, Mr. Salmond and Mr. Peter Murrell, the Chief Executive of SNP who is the husband of the First Minister.
Ms Grant noted that a safe space for other women to come forward in future could not be created if they knew “the head of the government investigating their claims is prepared to meet with the alleged perpetrator on multiple occasions and subsequently refuse to reveal what was said”.
“It would be completely unacceptable if the details of those meetings remain hidden from the Scottish people.
“That is why I have today submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to try and give the public as much detail over what their current and former first ministers discussed.
“Members of the public understand that the government will be restricted in some regards due to Mr Salmond’s legal action against them, but basic details surrounding these meetings should be released to them.
“The allegations against Alex Salmond are incredibly serious. His meetings with the head of a government that was investigating him must not be kept under wraps,” she said.