Alex Salmond offered new date for Holyrood probe evidence

Alex Salmond offered new date for Holyrood probe evidence

The Holyrood inquiry into the botched handling of complaints against Alex Salmond is to issue a new invitation for him to give evidence.

Earlier a lawyer for Mr Salmond said he had “cleared his diary” for next Wednesday for a potential appearance.

But Mr Salmond has previously insisted that the inquiry publish certain documents before he would attend.

The committee again rejected this but also voted to refer the issue to the body that administers the parliament.

The Holyrood inquiry is examining what went wrong with the Scottish government’s investigation of two internal harassment complaints against Mr Salmond.

The government conceded its process had been “unlawful” and agreed to pay the former first minister and SNP leader £500,000 in expenses after he launched a judicial review action in the courts.

He was expected to appear before the inquiry on 9 February, but this was cancelled when the committee voted, on party lines, not to publish his written submission.

A majority of MSPs argued there were legal reasons why it could not be published.

Mr Salmond, however, insisted he could not live up to an oath to “tell the whole truth” without being able to refer to this document.

Since then a senior judge, Lady Dorrian, has clarified a court order, dating back to Mr Salmond’s criminal trial in which he was acquitted of all charges, to ensure MSPs know what they can and cannot publish.

When the committee met again on Wednesday to consider the implications of Lady Dorrian’s ruling the MSPs again voted, by five votes to four, not to publish the submission – but also voted to refer the matter to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body for a final decision on publication.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The committee is keenly aware that publication is for the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and has tonight agreed to refer this to the SPCB for a decision on its publication.

“The committee is pleased to hear that Mr Salmond is willing to give evidence next Wednesday.

“He can, as a minimum, give evidence on all of his published submissions and records. As such, the committee plans to write to him tomorrow to invite him to attend next Wednesday.”

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is expected to discuss the matter on Thursday.

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