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'Inappropriate conduct' claim against MSP's aide

By Emma Crichton

Norman Will
Norman Will

A SENIOR staff member of a leading Highland MSP has been suspended amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Reports have been made to Police Scotland against Norman Will, head of office for Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing, and he has been suspended from his role.

Mr Will is a long-serving employee of Mr Ewing, the cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity.

Normally based in the city centre constituency office this week a spokesman for the MSP confirmed Mr Will is not currently working there.

He said: "I can confirm that Mr Will is indeed suspended. I can’t go into further details at this time but he is suspended."

This comes amid a wave of reports of abuse and harassment in the politics and entertainment industries.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police Scotland canconfirm a report about inappropriate conduct has been received.

"The reporting and tackling of sexual harassment is a priority and all reports will be thoroughly investigated.

"Our Public Protection Unit has dedicated investigative teams who provide specialist support to victims and target offenders to bring them to justice."

A Holyrood spokeswoman said: "The parliament takes a zero tolerance approach to harassment in the workplace and any complaints made to us will be listened to and investigated.

"To ensure that those coming forward can have full confidence in our procedures we will not confirm or comment upon any allegations made."

Nobody was willing to comment on how long Mr Will has been suspended for but he has not been active on his Twitter account since November and it is thought that he is no longer a member of the SNP.

A spokeswoman for the party said: "A staff member is suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

"Mr Ewing is following advice from the Scottish Parliament, and awaits the outcome of the investigation."

Mr Will has been an employee of Mr Ewing since the early days of his career.

The MSP was elected in the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999, to represent what was then the constituency of Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber.

He has been forced to reduce the opening hours of his Church Street constituency office since the suspension and the office is now closed on a Wednesday, although it was also shut when we tried to visit on Monday afternoon.

A sign in the office window is directing constituents with concerns to an employee at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Despite the allegations and suspension, Mr Will is still listed as head of office in the contact section of Mr Ewing’s website.

His job title has not been removed from Mr Will’s Twitter profile.

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