THE Holyrood committee probing the Scottish Government’s botched inquiry into harassment allegations made against Alex Salmond have invited the former First Minister to appear before them in December.

They’ve also made a “firm request” to be provided with a written submission from the ex-SNP leader at the “earliest opportunity”.

Linda Fabiani, who chairs the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, wrote to Salmond yesterday, asking for as much detail as possible.

He was initially given a deadline of September 23, but his lawyers said that to provid a full account he would need to hand over evidence from the criminal trial, including collateral evidence from the preliminary hearings. 

However, the Crown Office said this would be a criminal offence and be in breach of the terms of Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act. 

In her letter Fabiani tells Salmond, that MSPs have now “explored the extent of the legal restrictions in relation to the judicial review including seeking the documentation held by the Court of Session.”

While she understands the restrictions on Salmond, she questions whether the criminal trial evidence is “clearly within remit” of the committee.  

Fabiani adds: “Notwithstanding these barriers to a full submission from you, and your desire to make one full submission that fully sets out your position, the Committee considers your evidence to be an important perspective in questioning Scottish Government officials and ministers in the final three phases of its inquiry. 

“For that reason, I repeat again, on behalf of the Committee the firm request to be provided with a written submission from you at your earliest opportunity, otherwise your perspective cannot be taken into account in questioning witnesses as the inquiry progresses.”

Fabiani says the inquiry need to finish taking evidence from witnesses “in sufficient time to enable it to analyse all evidence, produce its findings in a published report and receive a response to its recommendations from the Scottish Government.” 

She says that to ensure this can happen before dissolution of Parliament at the end of March 2021, “the Committee has provisionally scheduled oral evidence taking through the remainder of 2020 including taking evidence from you in December.” 

The committee is investigating how the Scottish Government investigated sexual misconduct claims made against Salmond in 2018. 

He had the exercise set aside in a judicial review at the Court of Session, forcing ministers to admit it had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The case's collapse cost the Scottish Government £500,000.

After winning his civil case, Salmond was charged with sexual assault, leading to a High Court trial this year at which he was acquitted on all 13 counts.

Supporters of the ex-SNP leader believe there was a conspiracy against him among party and government officials.