Salmond bodyguard stands by him over misconduct claims
ALEX Salmond’s former bodyguard gave a statement last year denying his ex-boss had behaved inappropriately towards female staff at Edinburgh Airport when he was First Minister.
Roger Cherry, who was also Mr Salmond’s Government driver, is believed to have said he was with him almost everywhere and would have seen anything inappropriate at the airport.
After two women made complaints in January, the Scottish Government examined claims of sexual misconduct against the former First Minister when he was in office.
The probe, overseen by permanent secretary Leslie Evans, led to the Government referring the findings to Police Scotland, which has since launched its own investigation. Mr Salmond has denied sexually harassing anyone and is challenging the Government probe in court.
Last week it emerged that the single force had interviewed staff at Edinburgh Airport over separate alleged incidents involving the former SNP leader stretching back to 2008.
It was reported that informal complaints were made by female members of security staff and related to alleged comments and behaviour from Mr Salmond as he prepared to board flights.
However, the allegations were first levelled at Mr Salmond by a journalist for Sky News last year, but no story was reported.
A reporter for the broadcaster wrote last week that he had asked the SNP for comment at the time, but the party did not respond.
It is understood Mr Cherry provided a statement regarding the airport allegations after Sky News approached Mr Salmond.
Mr Cherry, 51, worked as a police officer for the Met before becoming a driver for Scottish Government Ministers.
He was allocated to Mr Salmond in 2007 and subsequently worked in his private office from 2008.
Mr Cherry’s primary duty involved driving the First Minister to events, but he also acted as his personal security officer. He still works for the Government.
In his statement, Mr Cherry is said to have written that he was by Mr Salmond’s side almost everywhere in the job, including to and from London, all over Scotland and internationally.
He is believed to have stated that he was present with Mr Salmond at airports and, given he was effectively his security guard, was in close proximity to him.
Regarding the allegations that were put to Mr Salmond by Sky News, he said Mr Salmond had not behaved inappropriately either verbally or physically.
In August, on the day the initial allegations of sexual harassment were published by a tabloid newspaper, Mr Salmond answered journalists’ questions at an event in a marquee close to Linlithgow.
Asked by this newspaper whether any media organisation had approached him in the last 18 months about allegations of inappropriate conduct in relation to women, he told the press conference: “If a media organisation had believed they had a case, no doubt they would have published a case.”
Mr Salmond’s legal challenge over how the Government handled the allegations called in court this month and a four-day hearing will be held in January.