An anti-harassment policy drawn up in the early days of the so-called “MeToo” movement was not directly related to allegations against former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, his successor Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The current First Minister told MSPs on the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints that the procedure was adopted following the emergence of the MeToo movement, which sprang out of widespread revelations about disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.
Giving evidence to the committee on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “That’s obviously one of the implications, that this policy is a bespoke Alex Salmond policy and even in the days when we were besties, Alex Salmond has a tendency to see most things as being about him.
“I hope he takes that in the spirit it’s intended. But it wasn’t, no. I think to see it in that way really ignores what was happening globally at that time.
“This was about the MeToo revelations.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “This was MeToo-driven.
“I thought, in a procedure that was there and hadn’t been used at all, that would be used for current and former politicians, it was best for a First Minister to be as far removed from that as possible, so that there was no suggestion that a First Minister of the same party of someone being complained about could be trying to influence the investigation.”
Ms Sturgeon also told the committee she was concerned its work may draw the attention away from Mr Salmond’s complainants.
She said: “One of the genuine worries I have here is the extent to which this whole process has side-lined and silenced the voice of the complainers, and that’s not what anybody on this committee has wanted or tried to do.”
Mr Salmond was last year acquitted on all counts of sexual assault, including intent to rape, following a trial.