LONDON — The head of Scotland’s government is referring herself to a watchdog panel because she spoke with a former mentor after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she met with Alex Salmond three times and spoke with him on the phone twice after two women brought allegations against him to the Scottish government a year ago.

Sturgeon says she’s acted appropriately but “the fact remains that at the center of this issue are two women whose complaints could not be swept under the carpet.”

Opposition parties had called on Sturgeon to make the referral to standards watchdog for government ministers.

Scotland’s highest civil court ruled last week that the way the Scottish government handled the matter against Salmond was unlawful.

A police investigation continues.

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