Alex Salmond invited to give evidence to Holyrood harassment probe inquiry

Alex Salmond has been invited to give evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched investigation of alleged sexual harassment by the former first minister.

The Scottish Parliament’s Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints has written to Mr Salmond to ask him to appear in person at next Tuesday’s evidence session.

The government’s investigation into allegations of sexual harassment was successfully challenged by former first minister Mr Salmond, who was awarded £512,250 after the Court of Session ruled it was unlawful.

Judge Lord Pentland concluded it was “tainted by apparent bias” because of prior contact between the government-appointed investigating officer and two of the women who came forward with complaints.

Inquiry into Scottish Governments handling of Harassment
Convener Linda Fabiani has invited former first minister Alex Salmond to give evidence to the harssment committee next week (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA)

The committee has asked for Mr Salmond to appear in person after the latest evidence session with Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans – the first to be conducted remotely rather than at parliament – was plagued by technical issues.

Convener Linda Fabiani bemoaned the “particularly difficult” session as several MSPs struggled to be heard due to connection issues, and Ms Evans’ answers were frequently obscured by the sound of computer alerts.

Ms Fabiani said: “It’s been particularly difficult at times having business effectively carried out when everyone is remote.

“However, it is following parliamentary guidance about virtual committee meetings.

“Just to make it clear to everyone, it is not entirely in this committee’s hands how we deal with our committee meetings, as we always must take into account what the parliament’s rules and regulations are and the effect it can have on very many people if we have gatherings.”

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