FORMER Labour MP Douglas Alexander has resigned as chair of Unicef UK after accusations of bullying behaviour towards staff.

Alexander, who represented Paisley and Renfrewshire South from 1997 to 2015, denied the claims and said they had come as a “complete surprise”.

Caroline Underwood, one of the charity’s vice-chairs, also said she had stepped down – one day after Sacha Deshmukh, the executive director, resigned amid the bullying allegations.

Unicef UK said a full review into the complaints had been launched by its board of trustees.

Alexander told the trade magazine Third Sector: “The allegations have come as a complete surprise to me, and are not true.

“Despite receiving the support of the board, I felt it would be inappropriate to continue as chair of the board of trustees while this important inquiry takes place.

“I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the upcoming review process and set out the facts. The Unicef UK team is tireless in its devotion to its work. It’s been a privilege to chair the board and I wish it all the success in the future.”

Other sources claimed Unicef UK limited the number of staff in contact with the former MP to avoid more complaints.

Alexander became chair of the charity in 2018.

Underwood wrote on LinkedIn that in the time she has served with Alexander she has “personally experienced nothing but a dedicated commitment to helping Unicef UK move forward and a fierce ambition for the board and charity to be the best it can be”.

She added she had only seen Alexander be “considered, compassionate and polite”.

Unicef treasurer Shatish Dasani will be interim chair while the search for a replacement is underway.