ALEX Salmond has called on the Scottish Government to publish the legal advice behind their decision to fight his judicial review, after it emerged that ministers knew two months before conceding that they were likely to lose.

Yesterday morning, the Holyrood committee investigating the botched probe into allegations of sexual harassment published the open record of the court case, detailing the pleadings of each side.

The former first minister’s lawyers said the document made clear “the numerous illegalities and obvious unfairness in the Government’s policy.”

Salmond had the results of the harassment investigation set aside in January last year, with a judge saying it was unlawful and had been “tainted by apparent bias” because Judith Mackinnon, the lead investigating officer, had been in prior contact with the two complainers.

However, according to the open record, the Government confirmed two months earlier, in November 2018, Mackinnon had been in prior contact with his accusers.

The cost to the taxpayer was substantial, with Salmond awarded costs of £512,000, and the Scottish Government spending another £180,000 on lawyers.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry: Salmondites? Sturgeonites? It doesn't matter when we work as one

In a statement, the ex-SNP leader’s lawyer, David McKie from Levy & McRae, said he’d been instructed by his client to supply “extensive documentation from the court proceedings including correspondence between this firm and the Scottish Government.

McKie added: “He has agreed to that private legal advice being published, despite being under no legal obligation to do so.

“In return, Mr Salmond calls on the Scottish Government to publish the legal advice given to the Scottish Government on the prospects of successfully defending the judicial review.

“As the Committee has already made clear, the Scottish Government can choose to do so. There is nothing preventing that publication.

“Moreover, there is a clear and overwhelming public interest in the public having the opportunity to read and understand the advice which is said to have justified the Scottish Government spending sums significantly in excess of £500,000 of taxpayers’ money in defending this action.”

The lawyer said Salmond was also calling on the Scottish Government to produce “all the relevant material from the judicial review which has thus far been held back from the committee.”

A source close to Salmond told The National: “Alex feels this matter has dragged on too long. He is now unlikely to be called to give his evidence to the inquiry committee until December at the earliest. But at least the record of the case is now in the open and the actions of certain individuals in the Government will come under greater scrutiny both now and in the future.

“People should not forget that the Scottish Government wanted to delay the judicial review until the criminal justice process was at an end, but Lord Pentland refused. The judge also awarded full expenses against the Scottish Government due to their tactics – they folded and admitted their process was tainted, don’t forget.

“Alex has given the inquiry his legal advice – surely it is a matter of common justice that the Scottish Government give the inquiry its advice which, after all, was paid for by public money. If they don’t, then the conclusion can only be they have something to hide.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie, who sits on the Holyrood committee said: “This investigation was doomed from the beginning.”