FORMER First Minister Alex Salmond has called for an end to what has been described as an “uncivil war” between him and his successor Nicola Sturgeon after his legal victory at the Court of Session.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday National in his first interview with the media following the outcome of the Judicial Review case at the Court of Session, Salmond indicated that he wants to see the sharp exchanges between the two camps which have played out in the press cease entirely.

He instead urged Nicola Sturgeon to focus her energy on the pursuit of Scottish independence and capitalise on the compromised position of the UK Government.

Salmond blamed the “unionist press” for their tactic of “provoking a response” and announced that he had ordered his team to stand down and avoid becoming embroiled in future exchanges.

“It takes two to tango and I’m just not playing this game,” he said.

“There is nothing the unionist press like more than creating an internal SNP spat. It is the easiest thing in the world to bounce off quotes and briefings of people to provoke a response. I have told my team that we are not getting involved. This ‘uncivil war’ stops now.”

The relationship between Salmond and Sturgeon has been the subject of intense media scrutiny since allegations of sexual harassment were levelled at the former First Minister in January last year. Salmond strenuously denies the claims, which are the subject of an ongoing police enquiry.

He claimed an early victory in the case after the Scottish Government were found to have acted unlawfully during its own investigation.

Following the outcome of the Judicial Review earlier this month, Sturgeon faced questions from opposition leaders and MSPs as to why she had met with Salmond three times and engaged with two phone calls with him after the allegations were made and why no official record of those discussions had been taken.

This culminated in the establishment of a quartet of separate enquiries in the aftermath of Salmond’s legal win. An internal Government study was established to scrutinise its own failing; an Information Commissioner investigation is probing how confidential information about the Government probe was reported in the press; there is a high-profile inquest into whether the First Minister breached the ministerial code by discussing the ongoing case with Salmond and finally, a parliamentary inquiry is investigating the case.

The First Minister, who referred herself to the independent advisory board on the Scottish ministerial code following prolonged attacks at FMQs, insists that she conducted herself appropriately throughout.

Salmond told the Sunday National that Sturgeon’s focus should remain upon the ideal of Scottish independence.

“Nicola should be concentrating all her energies on the independence agenda where we will never have better circumstances,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned Westminster’s Brexit difficulty should be Scotland’s opportunity.”

Prime Minister Theresa May, slammed for her inability to forge a Brexit deal acceptable to Parliament, last week suffered one of the greatest defeats the Commons has ever witnessed.

Salmond added: “One of our features in the national movement has been our inability to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of our political opponents. We have tended to concentrate on the shape we’re in.

“However, right now the Westminster political establishment is at its weakest point in my lifetime while the national movement is in good heart. There is not likely to be a better time to force the issue.”

The tit-for-tat exchanges between camps included Sturgeon’s team accusing Salmond’s camp of “smears” following reports of Sturgeon’s Chief of Staff, Liz Lloyd, knew about the complaints against him in advance of the first meeting in April.

Salmond yesterday was quoted in the Sun newspaper saying that “Nicola should stop rewriting history” following a claim that he had been airbrushed from the party history section on the SNP website.

An SNP spokesperson told The National the story was “rubbish”, adding that The Sun had “concocted this nonsense’’. They denied any suggestion that the party website had been changed recently to diminish Salmond’s past role.

Since the court decision on the Government’s inquiry into the Salmond allegations, he has urged the civil servant in charge of it, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, to resign.

He shows no sign of diluting that demand: ‘‘I consider these meetings between Nicola and I, which fascinate the opposition parties a secondary issue.

“The big unresolved matter from the Judicial Review is the behaviour of Leslie Evans. Under her charge the conduct of the Scottish Government has been found by the highest court in the land to have been ‘unlawful’, ‘unfair’ and ‘tainted by apparent bias’ at a cost to the Scottish people of at least £500,000 and to the great detriment of both myself and the two complainants.”

Salmond insisted that his focus is not on undermining the First Minister. He added: “On the steps of the court I explained why this was a matter for the Permanent Secretary rather than the First Minister. I find it staggering that Leslie Evans has refused to accept responsibility and take the obvious course of action.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Permanent Secretary stands by her decision to apply the procedure. The Scottish Government had a duty to investigate the complaints raised and was correct to do so. Although an issue has arisen around the operational application of the procedure, it does not relate to the procedure itself, which the Scottish Government considers to be fair and robust.

“It was right and proper that these complaints were investigated and the Permanent Secretary stand by the decision to carry out that investigation. We will continue to prioritise our duty of care to anyone within the organisation who brings forward any concerns about inappropriate conduct, regardless of the identity or seniority of the individual complained about.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “With the clock ticking down to Brexit date – and with the Tory government incapable of governing and Labour incapable of effectively opposing – the SNP will continue to focus on standing up for Scotland’s interests in the face of a disastrous Tory-driven Brexit and further austerity, and setting out the case for Scotland thriving as an independent nation.”