Angus Robertson has confirmed he spoke to Alex Salmond about alleged “inappropriateness” towards female staff at Edinburgh Airport in 2009.
In newly published written evidence to a Holyrood committee, the former Moray MP and SNP Westminster leader said the matter was “resolved” and “not reported further” after the conversation.
The 2009 incident has been a key focus of the ongoing inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched handling of complaints against Mr Salmond.
It was reported to Mr Robertson several years before First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other senior figures have said that they first became aware of concerns about her predecessor’s conduct.
Ms Sturgeon and key officials were told of an inquiry by Sky News about the airport incident in November 2017, in the same period that a new harassment policy was being drawn up by government officials to cover current and former ministers.
Mr Robertson, who is considered an ally of Ms Sturgeon and who is due to stand for Holyrood in the Edinburgh Central seat next year, denied to the committee he had any information relevant to its remit.
However, he wrote: “Since the matter has been raised in the committee, and reported elsewhere, it is probably worth taking time to address one instance where unspecified behaviour was mentioned to me.
“In 2009 I was called by an Edinburgh Airport manager about Alex Salmond’s perceived ‘inappropriateness’ towards female staff at the airport.
“I was asked if I could informally broach the subject with Mr Salmond to make him aware of this perception.
The matter being resolved, and without a formal complaint having been made, it was not reported further.”
“I raised the matter directly with Mr Salmond, who denied he had acted inappropriately in any way.
“I communicated back to the Edinburgh Airport manager that a conversation had happened.
“The matter being resolved, and without a formal complaint having been made, it was not reported further.”
Peter Murrell, SNP chief executive and Ms Sturgeon’s husband, was quizzed about the airport incident during his evidence to the committee earlier this week.
‘That sticks in my mind…’
Labour’s Jackie Baillie said to him: “I was asking you, again, because I assumed that something of that nature would have been reported to you, as chief executive of the SNP.
“Was the incident ever reported to you in 2009 or thereafter, before Sky News got in touch?”
Mr Murrell responded: “It was reported to me on the November 4 2017 at 7.27pm. That sticks in my mind, for some reason.”
Ms Sturgeon has said she was informed about complaints against Mr Salmond when she met him in her home on April 2 2018, although the Sky News inquiry from the previous November had “left me with a lingering concern that allegations about Mr
Salmond could materialise at some stage”.
The Holyrood committee was established after Mr Salmond objected to the way the complaints had been handled and took successful civil legal action against the government he used to lead.
A judicial review found the process had been “tainted with apparent bias”, an outcome that led to Mr Salmond being paid more than £500,000 in taxpayers’ cash to meet his legal costs.
Mr Robertson served as Moray MP from 2001 to 2017, when he was defeated by Douglas Ross, who is now the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.