NICOLA Sturgeon has told Holyrood she can understand why people "might raise an eyebrow" over her account that she forgot the meeting when she found out about complaints of sexual misconduct against Alex Salmond.

The First Minister insisted she has "nothing to hide" and had "tried to act in the proper way" as she faced questions in Holyrood over the Salmond case today.

In her opening question at FMQs Scottish Tory group leader Ruth Davidson asked Sturgeon how could she forget a meeting at which "you learnt for the first time about allegations of sexual misconduct being levelled against your predecessor and mentor of two decades".

The First Minister said she could understand why people would "raise an eyebrow" but said what was "seared on" on her memory was the meeting which took place in her home with Salmond himself three days later when he gave her the details of the complaints against him and his response.

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"I get why people will look at that and raise an eyebrow but perhaps if I can explain the circumstances," she said.

"I read a comment by a MSP ... to say that surely something like that would be seared on your memory. The is something that is seared on my memory and it is actually the meeting that took place some three days later when Alex Salmond himself sat in my own home and gave me the details of the complaints that had been made against him and also his response to aspects of those complaints.

"That is what is seared in my memory and I think most reasonable people would understand that."

She added: "If that has somehow over written in my mind a much more fleeting opportunistic meeting that took place a few days earlier that is just how it is."
Later in the tense exchanges in the chamber the First Minister said she had tried to do the right thing. "I've got nothing to hide in all of this," she said.

"I've had two years or more of people making accusations about my conduct. It's not my conduct that sparked any of this. I've tried to act in the proper way. If I've made mistakes along the way..people will make their own judgements."

The National:

The exchanges at First Minister's Questions this afternoon took place 24 hours after a written submission by Sturgeon to MSPs in which she said she had forgotten about a meeting with Salmond's former chief of staff in which harassment complaints against Salmond were raised.

She previously failed to disclose the face-to face discussion with Geoff Aberdein when she was asked about meetings by opposition MSPs involving Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault, attempted rape and indecent assault at the High Court in Edinburgh in March.

But those face-to-face talks on 29 March 2018 emerged during evidence given to Salmond's trial in the Spring.

In her written submission to a Holyrood committee set up to examine her Government’s botched investigation into complaints against Salmond and her own conduct, Sturgeon said she believed this meeting with Aberdein had covered “the suggestion that the matter might relate to allegations of a sexual nature”.

The criminal case followed a legal battle in which Salmond was awarded more than £500,000 when the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that a Scottish Government investigation into his conduct was “unlawful”.

In her evidence, published yesterday, Sturgeon said that she had spoken with Aberdein about the fact that the former First Minister wanted to discuss “allegations of a sexual nature”.

She said: “I had forgotten that this encounter had taken place until I was reminded of it in, I think, late January, early February 2019. For context, I think the meeting took place not long after the weekly session of FMQs and in the midst of a busy day in which I would have been dealing with a multitude of other matters.”

Previously when pressed by MSPs in parliament, Sturgeon repeatedly referred only to a meeting with Salmond on April 2, 2018, in her home.

After Sturgeon's submission was published yesterday, Murdo Fraser, a Scottish Conservative who sits on the committee, said the “scraps of evidence” provided were “damning enough” to show that Sturgeon had misled parliament.