THE First Minister has rejected claims that there was a “conspiracy” around the Alex Salmond case – calling them “nonsense”.

Speaking to Kirsty Wark in last night’s Newsnight, Nicola Sturgeon said she would be able to “elaborate on that view” in the fullness of time.

The SNP leader said there will be inquiries into the case further down the line which will offer the opportunity for her to be scrutinised.

Sturgeon’s predecessor Salmond was accused of and then cleared of 13 sexual assault charges during a high-profile trial at Edinburgh’s High Court in March.

Following the trial the former first minister said he would be writing a book detailing his experience, which former SNP depute leader Jim Sillars predicted could cause “volcanic eruption” for the party. He has called for a “complete clear-out of the highest levels of the party” in the wake of the trial.

When giving evidence to the court during the trial, Salmond called the allegations against him “deliberate fabrications for a political purpose”.

A poll carried out for the Wings Over Scotland blog last month found that a third of SNP voters believe there was a “conspiracy” against Salmond involving senior party and Scottish Government figures.

READ MORE: Third of SNP voters think there was a conspiracy against Salmond

The Panelbase survey also found 31% of people who voted Yes in 2014 felt there had been a conspiracy against the former SNP leader.

Newsnight presenter Wark asked Sturgeon how she had felt when she heard the verdict that Salmond had been cleared of the 13 charges.

The First Minister replied: “The day I heard the verdict I was immersed in dealing with coronavirus and I’m not trying to kind of dodge the question but actually I was. Most of my – pretty much all of my – thinking that day and in the days leading up to that and in the days since have been about coronavirus.

READ MORE: MacAskill claims 'dark forces' were involved in Alex Salmond trial

“Look there’s going to be inquiries, parliamentary inquiries, where I will have the opportunity to have my say and be asked questions and scrutinised and you know I’ll deal with that in the fullness of time.

“But right now, at that point in time you’re asking me about, my focus was on trying to deal with the immediate crisis the country is living through.”

Wark then mentioned the “conspiracy” claims. “What do you say to that?” she asked Sturgeon.

The SNP leader replied: “There was no conspiracy. It’s a heap of nonsense.

“But I’ll, as I say, in the fullness of time get the opportunity to elaborate on that view.”