Alex Salmond resigns SNP membership: All you need to know

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Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has resigned his membership of the party amid sexual harassment allegations. Here is all you need to know about the story:

A stalwart of Scottish politics

Undoubtedly the SNP’s most successful ever leader, Alex Salmond was in charge of the pro-independence party for 20 years and First Minister for seven. Party leader from 1990 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2014, he stood down following the independence referendum. Mr Salmond first joined the SNP 45 years ago and represented Banff and Buchan at Westminster and Holyrood and was MSP for Gordon and Aberdeenshire East.

Mr Salmond resigned his membership of the SNP after it emerged he faces allegations of sexual harassment.

He strongly denies the claims and said he was giving up his membership to avoid potential divisions within the party.

He is taking court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process activated against him.

What are the allegations?

The allegations about Mr Salmond’s conduct towards two staff members in 2013, while he was in office, emerged last week.

Two complaints, fiercely denied by Mr Salmond, were raised in January against him and he was informed of an investigation in March.

Police Scotland confirmed on Friday that the complaints had been passed to the force.

Scottish independence referendum
Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond had worked closely for decades (PA file)

Leslie Evans, Scottish Government permanent secretary, said it would defend its position “vigorously”.

Ms Evans added: “I note that the former first minister has indicated his intention to challenge the actions taken by the Scottish Government. His statement contains significant inaccuracies which will be addressed in those court proceedings.”

What has the SNP said?

Leader Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said it had been an “incredibly difficult” few days for the party.

Mr Salmond had been her mentor for three decades and Ms Sturgeon said she felt “huge sadness” about the situation.

She also reiterated her stance that the two complaints received by the Scottish Government could not be ignored.

What have political rivals said?

Opposition parties have attacked Mr Salmond’s use of a crowd-funding campaign to help with his costs in a legal action against the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Conservatives said it was “astonishing”, while Scottish Labour’s Rhoda Grant MSP, said it was “unbelievable” that he would use his power in such a way.

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