"No legal basis" for suspending Alex Salmond from the SNP, says Nicola Sturgeon

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 27 August 2018 in News

In a statement yesterday, the FM said the complaints were being investigated by the Scottish Government, rather than the SNP

Image credit: David Anderson

There is “no legal basis” for suspending Alex Salmond from the SNP, according to party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

With former First Minister Alex Salmond under investigation over allegations of sexual harassment, Sturgeon has faced calls from opposition parties to suspend him.

But in a statement yesterday, the FM said the complaints were being investigated by the Scottish Government, rather than the SNP, and that information relating to the case had not been shared with the party.

The FM also launched a defence of Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government Leslie Evans, who has faced criticism from Salmond over her handling of the case.

"The permanent secretary was absolutely right to ensure that the procedure was applied in this case and she has my full support in having done so," Sturgeon said.

The FM said: "In this case, unlike in some previous cases, the investigation into complaints about Alex Salmond has not been conducted by the SNP and no complaints have been received by the party.

"Also, for legal reasons, the limited information I have about the Scottish government investigation cannot at this stage be shared with the party - and rightly it is the party, not me as leader, that has the power to suspend membership."

She added: "In summary, the party has no legal basis at this time to suspend Alex Salmond's membership.

"Of course, should that situation change, the matter will be reconsidered, as it would be for any member.

"The party's rules apply to all members and no one is above them."

Salmond has denied the allegations – which date back to 2013 when he was still in office – and has initiated legal proceedings over the Scottish Government’s complaint procedure.

Responding to Sturgeon, Salmond said that confidentiality should apply to both complainers and those complained about.

He said: "Clearly it has not been maintained in this case but subject to sustained leaking of the most unfair kind

"That helps no-one but harms everyone. It is therefore crucial to find out who in government was responsible."

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