A top Tory MSP is at the centre of a furious row over claims a woman who brought allegations of sexual harassment against him may have been "intimidated" over her evidence. 

Rape Crisis Scotland hit out at the Tories over their “intimidating and inappropriate” handling of the sexual harassment probe involving Miles Briggs.

Mr Briggs was cleared by the party early today. over accusations he made persistent unwanted advances to a female worker from another party at a parliamentary social event.

But the charity say the investigation process “raised significant concerns for us about whether the woman in this case ever had any possibility of justice”.

HeraldScotland: Scottish Conservative MSP and mental health spokesman Miles Briggs

They claimed the complainant was asked to attend a hearing without representation to be questioned by Mr Briggs.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “This is why women are reluctant to come forward with sexual harassment complaints. The woman in this case faced a process which was intimidating and inappropriate. 

“She was asked to attend a hearing, without representation, to be questioned by the MSP she had made the complaint about. When we raised concerns about this, the Conservative party offered for her to be ‘cross examined by the chairman’, who would put Mr Briggs' questions to her, along with questioning from the rest of the committee.”

They added: “The fact that the Scottish Conservatives issued a press call for journalists to interview Miles Briggs about his reaction to the outcome of today’s hearing, prior to the hearing even starting, raised significant concerns for us about whether the woman in this case ever had any possibility of justice.

“In our view the Scottish Conservatives need to urgently change their approach to investigating sexual harassment complaints.

“This is not about party politics, it’s about ensuring that anyone experiencing sexual harassment feels about to come forward and expect fair treatment if they do.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson insisted that the party was "committed to ensuring that women and men are able to report allegations of sexual harassment".

She said: "This has not been an easy process but the party is committed to ensuring that women and men are able to report allegations of sexual harassment to us and maintain their anonymity as they do so ...

"Where there is credible evidence of sexual harassment by party representatives, we will not hesitate in taking disciplinary action."

Mr Briggs told how the allegations had made his life a “living hell”.

He said: "I have today been cleared by the disciplinary committee of the Scottish Conservatives following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against me.

"I welcome the chance today to speak publicly for the first time about these allegations.

"They have hung over me in private for the last two months. Now that they have been made public, I feel I can finally set the record straight.

"The allegations are completely false."

He added: "The last two months have been a living hell for me and my family as I have had to face these false allegations of sexual harassment made against me.

"Damage has clearly been done to my character, especially among those who don't know me, and I hope I have the chance to address that in the coming weeks and months."