FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has given a screenshot of WhatsApp exchanges between herself and Alex Salmond to the Holyrood inquiry about the botched investigation into harassment allegations against her predecessor.

The messages show two requests over whether Salmond was available for phone calls, which Sturgeon previously said was “setting up a conversation” to discuss allegations Salmond behaved inappropriately towards female staff at Edinburgh Airport.

She first revealed the messages in an interview with Sky News last month, reading out the messages live on air after claims she had withheld communication relevant to the Holyrood committee’s remit.

The First Minister acknowledged they contained an “oblique reference” to claims of inappropriate conduct by Salmond but the messages were “not a big revelation”.

The partially redacted exchanges took place between November 5, 2017, and April 22, 2018.

Sturgeon asked: “Hi – when you free to speak this morning?”

A minute later, Salmond replied: “10am.”

That evening, at 6.58pm, Sturgeon text again with the message: “Any developments?”

Salmond does not respond.

On the following day, Sturgeon wrote: “You free for a word?”

There was no written reply once more.

Sturgeon again messaged on November 9 but that text and Salmond’s first reply have been redacted due to falling outside the remit of

the inquiry. But Salmond sent a second message, which read: “Ps the other matter is done and dusted with source identified”.

He then sent another message on November 10 but that too is redacted.

The final text of the exchange came from Salmond on April 22.

He wrote “it would be very helpful if I could call you on WhatsApp between 10.30am and 12”, although the screenshot cuts off any remaining content of the message.

When challenged about the messages last month, Sturgeon said the claims were a diversionary tactic by her “annoyed” predecessor, whose lawyers were accusing her of holding back certain messages the pair exchanged.

She said: “I was setting up a conversation that I have told the parliamentary inquiry about, it’s hardly a big revelation.

“Later that week, incidentally, I messaged him to say ‘no wonder you didn’t want to tell me’.

“That’s just after I find out that he’s agreed to host a regular show on Russia Today and it reflects my incredulity at that decision.

“I think his response to me then makes an oblique reference to the Sky News query so that may be what he’s talking about.”

Asked why Salmond would want these messages to be released to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Sturgeon suggested the former First Minister may want people to believe the allegations are “all a big conspiracy” to deflect from his conduct.

Salmond was acquitted of 13 charges at the High Court in Edinburgh in March. The court case followed a legal battle in which he was awarded more than £500,000 when the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled a Scottish Government investigation into his conduct was unlawful.