EX-JUSTICE Secretary Kenny MacAskill has attacked "whiter than white" Nicola Sturgeon over Alex Salmond and Mark McDonald.

MacAskill has accused the First Minister of putting her own self-image over fairness when party colleagues are allegedly responsible for wrongdoing.

Claiming that former Children's Minister McDonald has been treated like a "Scottish Hannibal Lecter", he states: "For a coterie surrounding the SNP leadership, she is to be whiter than white and the SNP purer than the driven snow.

"Misconduct will not be tolerated and any who might taint her are to be driven out, whether by leaks to the press or overt actions".

Writing in The Scotsman, MacAskill – who was at court this week when Salmond won his legal challenge against the Scottish Government's investigation into alleged sexual harassment – says McDonald, who now sits as an independent MSP, has been "thrown to the wolves" for being a "stupid laddie".

An investigation into the Aberdeen Donside MSP by the independent Standards Commissioner found he had sexually harassed a female staffer through text messages.

Other complaints included a woman who said she had woken up in McDonald's hotel room after a night out with no recollection of how she got there.

One woman said she ended up in hospital and spent six months off work as a result of McDonald's behaviour towards her.

Without referring to these aspects, MacAskill said: "Far worse behaviour has been perpetrated by others not just in opposition parties within Holyrood but in Westminster. The tone though was set by some surrounding the First Minister who set McDonald up for the slaughter. Rather than punishing him but standing by him, they threw him to the wolves."

On Salmond, MacAskill alleges that his former colleague was "subjected to what very much seemed like an internal SNP inquiry where former staff were approached about him".

This is said to have occurred when police and parliamentary investigations had begun.

MacAskill states: "Loyalty needs not just to be earned by shown, and that has been remiss lately within the SNP leadership."