ALEX Salmond could be set to take the Scottish Government to court for a second time, in a bid to release secret documents about the botched probe into allegations of sexual harassment.

In a damning letter, the former First Minister’s lawyer, David McKie, told the committee of MSPs examining the failure of the complaints handling process that they’d only been given “partial and incomplete evidence” from the Government. He said they were missing key papers.

“We do not understand why an offer to produce these documents has not been offered in full by the Scottish Government, whose documents they are,” McKie said.

While Deputy First Minister John Swinney has promised the Government will give a “full account of its legal position at different points in time” to the committee, he has made clear ministers will not be waiving their privilege to withhold documents containing confidential legal advice.

In 2018, the Scottish Government launched an investigation into two complaints of sexual harassment made against Salmond.

Salmond then took the Government to a judicial review, describing the investigation into those complaints as flawed.

In January 2019, the Scottish Government admitted in court during a judicial review, that it had not followed the correct procedures.

Judge Lord Pentland said that the Government’s internal probe had been “tainted with apparent bias”.

The Scottish Government had to pay Salmond £512,250 in legal costs.

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Yesterday, McKie told the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints that there were two options to secure the “critical documents” from the Government.

He said the “quickest and cheapest route” is if the Scottish Government agrees to release all the documents cited by Salmond as relevant.

If it refuses or further delays making the papers available, McKie said: “The second option, which we are willing to undertake on behalf of the committee, would be for Mr Salmond to return to court to seek the express consent of the court to have those documents passed to the committee.”

Though he said it would be unfair to expect Salmond to bear the legal costs of a court appeal.

“Whilst we are more than content to make that application on behalf of the committee, we would require clarification that all legal costs would be met by the committee,” he added.

McKie said he and his client were “not surprised” that the “matter is taking so long to progress”.

He added: “It is consistent with the attitude and approach of the Scottish Government throughout the litigation, nevertheless, we hope that the good faith and constructive intention of our client is clear from the content of this letter.

“Mr Salmond will work with the committee in any way he can to reach the shared goal of public disclosure of the relevant and necessary documents.”

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader and committee member said: “This explosive letter reveals the extent of the Scottish Government’s failure to be fully transparent with the committee and the public.

“The invoking of legal privilege by powerful figures has become a regular fixture in this investigation and too many vital documents have been withheld from committee members.

“We simply cannot have the endemic culture of secrecy that permeates the Scottish Government and civil service inhibiting the progress of this committee any further.

“It is time for those who hold vital information to come clean with the committee so that we can get to the bottom of this affair together.

“The continued evasion is undignified, undemocratic and simply unacceptable.”

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, who sits on the committee, called on the Government to break its silence.

Alex Salmond has now joined the chorus demanding that the SNP give up thdocuments they don’t want us to see. The Scottish public will not tolerate a whitewash. If the SNP continue to act like the inquiry is beneath them, we will never get answers about how half-a-million pounds was wasted.”