In Brief

Alex Salmond: former SNP leader charged with attempted rape and sexual assault

The 64-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to face a total of 14 charges

Scotland’s former first minister Alex Salmond appeared in court today to face charges of attempted rape and sexual assault.

The 64-year-old was arrested last night and interviewed by police.

Today, in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, he faced a total of 14 charges, including two charges of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.

Salmond, who was first minister from 2007 to 2014, made no plea and has been released on bail.

Outside the court, he insisted he was “innocent of any criminality whatsoever”.

“I’d love to say a great deal more but I have got to observe the rules of the court and in court is where I will state my case,” he told reporters.

Speaking after First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond’s successor as SNP leader, said: “Obviously this news this morning will be a shock to many people.

“But as Police Scotland have made clear this morning these are now live criminal proceedings.

“That means now, more than ever, it would be completely inappropriate for me or anybody else for that matter to make any comment on the situation.”

Before Salmond stepped down following the allegations, he had been a member of the SNP for 45 years and its leader for 20, “taking it to its greatest electoral heights and closer than it has ever been to realising its goal of independence”, notes Glasgow-based newspaper The Herald.

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