Salmond considers further legal action after book reveals ‘misconduct finding’

Former first minister Alex Salmond is considering further legal action after “leaked extracts” from a Scottish Government investigation reportedly found his behaviour amounted to sexual misconduct.

Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, Scotland’s most senior civil servant, is said to have upheld five charges against Mr Salmond at the conclusion of her investigation in 2018

But with the former first minister having successfully taken legal action against the Scottish Government over its handling of those allegations, Mr Salmond insisted that any leaking of her conclusions “undermines the entire purpose and outcome of the successful judicial review”.

The former SNP leader, who now heads up the rival pro-independence Alba Party, insisted that as a result the publication of this was an “attack on the administration of justice itself”.

Mr Salmond said he was now consulting with lawyers on a number of issues.

He alleged a new book, detailing the breakdown of the relationship between himself and his successor Nicola Sturgeon “potentially breaches the criminal law in a number of ways”.

The former first minister said he had reported to the Crown his concerns about Break-Up: How Alex Salmond And Nicola Sturgeon Went To War, which has been written by journalists Kieran Andrews and David Clegg, with extracts having been published by The Times.

Mr Salmond said he had also instructed his lawyers to report to the Crown “the outrageous decision of some to publish leaked extracts of the Permanent Secretary, Lesley Evans’ findings in the original unlawful investigation”.

As well as winning his legal case against the Scottish Government, a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh cleared for former first minister of 13 charges in March 2020.

Mr Salmond insisted: “In responding to the allegations against me I have at all times respected the lawful processes and integrity of the courts. I have trusted in those legal processes.

“I won two court cases in the highest courts in the land both civil and criminal, where a judge found in my favour and jury of nine women and six men acquitted me.”

He continued: “There are some who still wish to ignore the considered decisions of judges and the jury who actually heard the evidence and replace them with press smears based on malicious leaks and ludicrous gossip.

“That stops now.

“I have therefore instructed my legal team to write to the appropriate investigating authorities in order that these matters, including potential criminality, be comprehensively investigated.”

He said he was also “now actively considering afresh the legal remedies available in the civil courts”.

Mr Salmond won more than £500,000 from the Scottish Government after the Court of Session ruled the government’s handling of misconduct allegations against him, made by two female civil servants, was “unlawful”.

The findings of Ms Evans’ investigation have not been made public until now.

Harassment allegation committee hearing
Leslie Evans’ investigation was prompted by complaints from two civil servants (Russell Cheyne/PA)

Ms Evans’ investigation was launched after two female civil servants formally complained about Mr Salmond’s behaviour.

The book states: “Ruling on complaints from Ms A and Ms B, Evans wrote that his conduct on a number of occasions was ‘unwanted and of a sexual nature’ and had the effect of ‘violating’ their ‘dignity’ and ‘creating an intimidating, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment’.

“Some of the allegations were considered so serious that Evans decided they should be referred to the police despite both women expressing reservations about becoming involved in a criminal investigation.”

Following the conclusion of the criminal trial, the Scottish Government’s handling of the complaints against Mr Salmond was investigated by a committee of MSPs.

The committee found the Government’s handling of complaints was “seriously flawed” and women had been let down.