Alex Salmond has resigned from the Scottish National Party. In a shock announcement, the former First Minister said he had decided to put Scottish independence first.
The news follows allegations of sexual harrassment made by two un-named women against Scotland’s former First Minister.
Mr Salmond has strenuously denied the allegations, calling some of them ridiculous. His resignation follows several days of coverage by the Scottish media with salicious stories front paged by the Daily Record and replayed by BBC Scotland.
The episode has also witnessed Unionist politicians attempt to use the allegations in order to smear current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Mr Salmond stated his intention is to re-apply for membership of the party he loves as soon as he clears his name.
He said: “In my letter to the National Secretary I state that it is my absolute intention to reapply for SNP membership just as soon as I have had the opportunity to clear my name. I hope that is by the end of this year. In the meantime I would urge no one else to relinquish their SNP membership.”
The former SNP leader has also launched a crowdfunding appeal to help pay legal costs as he prepares for a Judicial Review against the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, Leslie Evans. The £50,000 appeal had raised £15,000 within one hour of being launched.
Mr Salmond added: “I truly love the SNP and the wider independence movement in Scotland. They have been the defining commitment of my life. But today I have written to the National Secretary of the Party resigning my membership.
“I read carefully Nicola Sturgeon’s statement on Sunday and watched her television interview of a couple of days ago. She made it clear that the SNP have never received a single complaint about my personal conduct in my many decades of membership. And the Scottish Government have confirmed that they did not have any such complaint before this January, more than three years after I left office as First Minister. That is the record of 30 years of public service. So let me be clear again. I refute these two complaints of harassment and I absolutely reject any suggestion of criminality.
“I believe that all such issues must be treated seriously, confidentially and through a fair process. In this case confidentiality has been broken greatly to my detriment and in a way which puts at serious risk the anonymity of both complainants. It urgently needs to be established who breached that duty of confidence and why.
“It seems obvious that Nicola feels under pressure from other political parties to suspend me from SNP membership, given recent party precedents. For my part I have always thought it a very poor idea to suspend any party member on the basis of complaints and allegations. Innocent until proven guilty is central to our concept of justice.
“However, I did not come into politics to facilitate opposition attacks on the SNP and , with Parliament returning next week, I have tendered my resignation to remove this line of opposition attack. Most of all I am conscious that if the Party felt forced into suspending me it would cause substantial internal division.”
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