Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has “emphatically” denied claims that she concealed concerns about the behaviour of her predecessor Alex Salmond.
Sky News has revealed that concerns raised by female employees at Edinburgh Airport in 2008-2009 were relayed to a senior figure in the SNP at the time.
The members of staff had complained of inappropriate behaviour by Mr Salmond.
Sky News has established that the party figure contacted by airport officials is Angus Robertson, the then leader of the SNP at Westminster.
We asked Ms Sturgeon if it was conceivable that he did not tell her about Edinburgh Airport’s concerns over the behaviour of Mr Salmond.
She said: “I understand public and media interest in this story but there are ongoing legal processes right now. We are in the midst of a civil court action between Alex Salmond and the Scottish government. As we know, there are ongoing police enquiries.
“I simply cannot comment or answer the questions that you are asking me. I am absolutely satisfied that I, the SNP, the Scottish Government have acted entirely appropriately at all stages.”
Sky News asked Ms Sturgeon if the Edinburgh Airport claims were concealed and whether she was part of that.
She replied: “That is not the case, emphatically not the case. I understand these questions, I understand the interest, but I think people will also understand that serious concerns and complaints have been raised – actually the people raising those complaints now deserve to have the benefit of due process.
“I will answer all and any questions when legal processes have concluded but I think as most people will understand, it is neither possible nor appropriate for me to do so at this time.”
Edinburgh Airport has confirmed that members of its staff are assisting with police enquiries into suggestions of inappropriate behaviour by Mr Salmond.
As Scotland’s first minister, he was a regular user of the passenger terminal.
Mr Salmond strongly denies misconduct. In a statement, a spokesman said: “Mr Salmond denies all suggestions of misconduct at any time and suggests that everyone should allow the police enquiries to take their proper course without briefing or breaching confidentiality.
“Alex has not been interviewed by Police about any matter. He is content to have his case against the Scottish Government stated in the Court of Session in January.”
The former first minister is challenging the Scottish government’s handling of two other complaints against him of sexual misconduct by government employees, dating back to 2013, which he denies.
Scottish Labour’s equalities spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “The allegations facing Alex Salmond are extremely serious and deserve proper scrutiny.
“But Nicola Sturgeon seems determined to hide behind process rather than be honest about who knew what and when – and crucially what was done to protect women.
“That is unacceptable. Given it now seems clear Angus Robertson – one of the SNP’s most senior politicians – was told about concerns around Mr Salmond as early as 2008, we need an urgent statement from the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon clarifying exactly how these allegations were dealt with.”