TWO women who accused Alex Salmond of harassment have attacked MSPs on the Holyrood committee probing the Scottish Government’s botched probe.  

Last November, on behalf of the women, Rape Crisis Scotland, has written to convener Linda Fabiani, suggesting the committee is more concerned with exploiting their pain for “political purposes” and pushing conspiracy theories.

The committee is investigating the Scottish Government's botched probe into allegations of misconduct made against the former First Minister. 

Salmond had the exercise set aside in January 2019, after a judicial review declared it "unlawful" and "tainted by bias". 

At a later criminal case the ex-SNP leader was found not guilty on 12 charges of sexual assault charges.


In the letter - which has been leaked to the Daily Record - the charity’s chief executive, Sandy Brindley wrote: “They are deeply disappointed that the committee continues to be insensitive to the fact that they are real people on the other side of this, and they are distressed that their painful personal experiences are being exploited for political purposes through the committee’s inquiry.

“Having already been badly let down by the handling of their complaints, they continue to be let down by a process that seems only to pay lip service to concerns for their interests.”

The letter noted that the women had asked how their welfare could be protected if they took part in the inquiry, but warned: “The response they received left them unconvinced that the committee had given any meaningful consideration to their safety and welfare.

“The approach taken by committee members over recent weeks has confirmed that impression, particularly through members’ public comments on social media.”

Rape Crisis Scotland also pointed to a tweet by committee member Murdo Fraser about Nicola Sturgeon confirming the new anti-harassment policy 48 hours after one of Salmond’s accusers made a disclosure.

The Tory MSP, tweeted: “This just gets murkier and murkier.”

The letter said: “Tweets like this, and comments from other committee members and their parties, have caused significant distress for the women.

"Such comments cast illegitimate doubt on the good faith with which they entered into the investigation process, and cast baseless aspersions on their motivations and roles in doing so.

“I can’t overstate how distressing all of these repeated insinuations promoted by the committee, which fuel conspiracy theories, are for the women.

“It would be a bitter irony if the committee’s approach to the inquiry made other women even less likely to feel able to raise complaints of sexual harassment or abuse in future.”

Responding, Fabiani told the paper: “I have always been clear that the concerns of the women who made the complaints are at the heart of the work we do, so of course I made sure that the concerns of Rape Crisis Scotland were raised with the committee.

“However, my influence over the behaviour of committee members is limited to their actions within the committee meetings themselves.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Tories said: “It is clear that this tweet was a reference solely to the actions of the First Minister and Scottish Government, who so badly let down the women at the heart of this scandal.”