THE SNP's Kenny MacAskill has called for the party’s chief executive to be suspended over his apparent demands for police action against Alex Salmond.

Last week, the East Lothian MP revealed he had been passed a document which appeared to show Peter Murrell calling for pressure to be put on Police Scotland in relation to the former First Minister.

On the day after Salmond's first court appearance, the SNP HQ boss in a text to another party official seemingly suggested "it was a good time to be pressuring the police" to pursue the ex-leader.

Murrell, who is the husband of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is also alleged to have sent another message to the same person, saying he wanted the Met in London to start a second inquiry.

The text message, obtained by the Scottish Sun newspaper, said: “The more fronts he is having to firefight on the better for all complainers.”

Writing on the Wings Over Scotland blog, MacAskill asked why Murrell had not been suspended by the party.

He said: "It’s over a week since revelations broke of What’s App messages sent by Peter Murrell to his Chief Operating Officer purporting to encourage pressure be brought to bear on police in the Alex Salmond case.

"Indeed, they appeared even to go beyond that, with the suggestion of the instigation of another enquiry by the Metropolitan Police."

He added: "Now those things may or may not be criminal but it’s certainly conduct unbecoming of a party Chief Executive, raising questions about both him and his actions. After all, the SNP is the governing party and seeking to influence criminal investigations is simply unacceptable."

The MP said the NEC had failed to discuss it at a meeting last Sunday, "despite the pleas and demands of several members."

He added: "It appears that the Business Convener [SNP MP Kirsten Oswald] ruled after just over two hours that the meeting was at an end. Neither the Chief Executive’s actions nor his report were discussed. Instead the meeting was summarily concluded."

MacAskill accused his colleague of being a "None Of Your Business Convener."

MacAskill, a long-standing ally of Salmond, recently claimed “dark forces” were behind the prosecution of the former First Minister, adding: “As a defence agent of 20 years’ standing and a former justice secretary, I’ve known major police inquiries but never of such magnitude other than for the most heinous of crimes and dangerous of offenders.”

Earlier this month Murrell told the Holyrood committee that he was not present at meetings between the First Minister and Alex Salmond in early 2018.

In a letter to the MSPs, Murrell, said that he “had the sense that something serious was being discussed” by the pair but that his wife “couldn’t discuss the details.”

The Holyrood inquiry – formed after Salmond won a judicial review into the government’s complaints procedures – wrote to Murrell in July asking for information.

Part of their investigation is looking into whether Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by meeting Salmond while he was being investigated over alleged sexual misconduct.

The committee has requested material relating to all SNP disciplinary and grievance procedures, and details of complaints between the SNP, Salmond, Sturgeon, and her chief of staff, Liz Lloyd.

It also asked when he became aware of complaints and who told him, and for details of meetings he had attended or knew of involving Sturgeon, Lloyd, Salmond and Geoff Aberdein, Salmond’s ex-chief of staff.

In  his response, Murrell said :”I became aware that complaints had been made under the Scottish Government procedure when the matter became public in August 2018.

"I knew about the meetings between Nicola and Alex Salmond at our home on 2 April and 14 July 2018 and I had the sense that something serious was being discussed. 

“Nicola told me she couldn’t discuss the details. The nature of Nicola’s job means that when she tells me she can’t discuss something, I don’t press it.”

The SNP has been approached for comment.