ALEX Salmond has denied criminality as he spoke out for the first time since being accused of sexual misconduct.

The former first minister said he was “no saint” and had “flaws” but robustly rejected any suggestion he had sexually harassed anyone.

He told the BBC: “I have made many mistakes in my life – political and personal – but I have not sexually harassed anyone, and I certainly have not been engaged in criminality.”

Mr Salmond is facing claims of sexual misconduct against two staff members in Bute House in December 2013, when he was first minister.

Nicola Sturgeon said the allegations are “extremely difficult” to come to terms with but cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet.

It comes after the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans accused Mr Salmond of “significant inaccuracies” in a statement he released last night.

The ex-first minister announced a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s handling of the complaints process, singling out Ms Evans for criticism.

He is expected to hold a press conference later today.

He told the BBC: “I took the legal action I’ve taken with the greatest reluctance. I mean, for five months I’ve been going through this and my legal team have advised me that this process is defective on justice.

“It doesn’t allow you to state your case. You don’t get access to witnesses. You don’t see witness statements.”

Asked if he denied the allegations by the two complainants "totally and fully", he said: "I deny that I harassed anyone and I explicitly refute any suggestion of criminality."