Tory MSP Miles Briggs denies sexual harassment allegations

Simon Johnson
Scottish Tory MSP Miles Briggs

A senior Conservative MSP and close ally of Ruth Davidson has vigorously denied sexual harassment allegations.

Miles Briggs, the party's Shadow Health Minister, is alleged to have made persistent unwanted advances at a parliamentary social event.

But the Lothian MSP said he "completely" rejected the claims as he faced an internal disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh.

The party launched an investigation in July after a female worker from another party lodged a formal complaint about the alleged incident, which is said to have occurred in February.

However, it was reported that the complainant declined to take part in the hearing because of the process being used.

Mr Briggs said: "I completely refute these allegations and I will be happy to make a full statement after the disciplinary hearing has come to a conclusion."

The incident is alleged to have happened at a social event in the Scottish Parliament Credit: PA

The Daily Record reported that the complainant declined to take part in the hearing on the advice of Sandy Brindley, the Rape Crisis Scotland chief executive, who has been advising her.

It was said the Tories agreed to her demand that Mr Briggs not be allowed to cross-examine her evidence directly, but only through the hearing's chairman.

But she raised other concerns about the process, including not being given the opportunity to hear Mr Briggs's version of events.

She also complained she did not know the committee's gender balance or whether its members were trained in dealing with sexual harassment cases.

I completely refute these allegations and I will be happy to make a full statement after the disciplinary hearing has come to a conclusion

Miles Briggs, Scottish Tory Shadow Health Minister

But, in an email to Mr Brindley, the Tories said: "There are two very differing accounts of what happened on the evening in question, each account supported by various witnesses...

"The committee do require to see the witnesses and test their position so that a view can be taken on which version of events is, on the balance of probabilities, correct."

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "All parties agreed to the process from the outset and were kept informed throughout. Until that process concludes, the party cannot comment.

"We agree that it is vital for women and men to feel able to report sensitive matters like these with complete confidentiality and the party has undertaken to do this since we received notification of a complaint."