Scottish Government pays out £500,000 in legal costs to Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond has been awarded more than £500,000 by the Scottish Government over a collapsed internal investigation into allegations about his behaviour as first minister.
The money is to cover Salmond’s legal costs after he launched a judicial review against the Scottish Government in the Court of Sessions last year.
Salmond launched the legal action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process activated against him in relation to allegations of sexual harassment during his time as first minister.
But the Scottish Government admitted it breached its own guidelines during the investigation, by appointing an investigating officer who had "prior involvement" in the case.
In January 2019, the internal government investigation into the complaints about Salmond was found to be “unlawful”, which prompted the collapse of the civil court case.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We can confirm that final settlement of £512,250 has been made to Mr Salmond for legal costs arising from his petition for judicial review.”
Opposition MSPs have criticised the government for the original handling of the probe that has led to this payout.
Scottish Conservative MSP, Donald Cameron, who is a member of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, said: “It is outrageous that over half a million pounds has been wasted thanks to the botched handling of this investigation.
“This is taxpayers’ money that will be handed over to Alex Salmond thanks to the appalling way these complaints were dealt with.”
Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton echoed the remarks, saying: “Parliament will have to get to the bottom of this expensive and flawed inquiry.”
Separately, Salmond was charged with 14 sexual offences, including attempted rape, which he denies.
A Holyrood inquiry into what went wrong with the Scottish Government probe has been established, but its work won’t commence until the criminal case brought against Salmond has concluded.