Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s crowdfunding campaign, set up to help pay for a legal challenge to the Scottish government’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against him, surpassed its target within hours of being launched.
Salmond launched the campaign to raise £50,000, called #forFairness, as he announced his resignation from the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Wednesday night.
By late Thursday morning, more than 2,900 supporters had donated over £73,500 to assist Salmond’s legal action against the Scottish government, which the former SNP leader accuses of mishandling the accusations against him.
In announcing his resignation, Salmond said his aim was to avoid division within the SNP, which had faced calls to suspend him. He said he would reapply to the party after clearing his name.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Salmond said: “I truly love the SNP and the wider independence movement in Scotland. They have been the defining commitment of my life. But today I have written to the national secretary of the party resigning my membership.”
Reports emerged last week that two Scottish government staffers had lodged complaints in January about Salmond’s behavior when he was first minister. Police have been informed of incidents, alleged to have taken place in Bute House — the official residence of the Scottish first minister — in December 2013.
Salmond issued a public denial of the “patently ridiculous” allegations and said he was taking the Scottish government to court over the way it has handled the accusations.
His successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said on Twitter: “I feel a huge sadness about this whole situation. Alex has been my friend and mentor for almost 30 years.”
But she added that “the hard fact remains that two complaints were received by the Scottish government that could not be ignored or swept under the carpet. Complaints must be investigated without fear or favour.”