ALEX Salmond has accused a string of senior SNP and Scottish Government figures of trying to have him imprisoned.

In his submission to Holyrood’s harassment inquiry, the former First Minister claims party chief executive Peter Murrell is among those responsible for a  “deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted” effort to wreck his reputation. 

He also claims there has been a "complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law."

Salmond is set to appear before MSPs at the Holyrood harassment inquiry on Wednesday. 

The cross-party harassment committee is investigating the Scottish Government’s flawed probe into allegations of misconduct made against Salmond by two civil servants. 

He had the exercise set aside in January 2019, with a judicial review declaring it “unlawful” and “tainted by bias”. 

The Government’s botched handling ultimately cost the taxpayer half a million pounds. 

At a later criminal case, the ex-SNP leader was cleared on 13 counts of sexual assault. 

On Monday night the committee published three submissions; one from Salmond, a copy of Salmond’s testimony to the ministerial code inquiry being led by James Hamilton, and another from Liz Lloyd, Nicola Sturgeon's chief of staff.  

Salmond has tied his appearance in front of the committee to the Hamilton testimony. In it he claims the First Minister repeatedly breached the strict rules governing the conduct of ministers. 

The SNP leader has always denied her predecessor’s allegations. 

Yesterday, speaking before the publication of the submissions, Sturgeon said Salmond didn't have a “shred of evidence” of a conspiracy against him.  

Sturgeon told the BBC’s Glenn Campbell: “This week, I hope Alex Salmond will turn up to the committee and bring the claims he's been making out into the open. He appears to be suggesting some kind of conspiracy or concerted campaign against him without a shred of evidence. 

"I think this is his opportunity, because the burden of proof of that lies with him, to replace the insinuation and assertion that we've heard over several months now with evidence. 

"I don't believe he can do that because I know what he is claiming about a conspiracy is not true."

In his written submission to the committee’s inquiry, Salmond told MSPs: “It has been a matter of considerable public interest whether there was ‘a conspiracy’. I have never adopted the term but note that the Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as ‘the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.’ 

“I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy but am very clear in my position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned. 

“That includes, for the avoidance of doubt, Peter Murrell (Chief Executive), Ian McCann (Compliance officer) and Sue Ruddick (Chief Operating Officer) of the SNP together with Liz Lloyd, the First Minister’s Chief of Staff. There are others who, for legal reasons, I am not allowed to name.”

Salmond said the “most obvious and compelling evidence” of the conspiracy was contained in material from his criminal trial that the Crown Office refused to release. 

He said: “That decision is frankly disgraceful. Refusing to allow the Committee to see that material both denies me the opportunity to put the full truth before the Committee and the public, and makes it impossible for the Committee to complete its task on a full sight of the relevant material. 

“The only beneficiaries of that decision to withhold evidence are those involved in conduct designed to damage (and indeed imprison) me.”  

In another section of the submission, he told MSPs: "The Parliamentary Committee has already heard evidence of activities by civil servants, special advisers, Ministers and SNP officials which taken individually could
be put down to incompetence, albeit on an epic scale.

"However taken together, and over such a prolonged period, it becomes impossible to explain such conduct as inadvertent co-incidence. The inescapable conclusion is of a malicious and concerted attempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland.

"It is an attempt which would, in fact, have succeeded but for the protection of the court and jury system and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary."

Salmond claims Murrell - who is married to Nicola Sturgeon - deployed senior staff to "recruit and persuade staff and ex staff members to submit police complaints."

He said this was being "co-ordinated with special advisers and was occurring after the police investigation had started and after I ceased to be a member of the SNP."

Salmond suggests that it was because of the impending defeat in the Judicial Review.

"Cabinet Ministers thought it should lead to the resignation of the Permanent Secretary. The Special Adviser most associated with the policy believed that her job was in jeopardy and accordingly sought to change press releases in light of that.

"The First Minister’s team felt threatened by the process as did the civil service. The documentary evidence shows that special advisers were using civil servants and working with SNP officials in a fishing expedition to recruit potential complainants.

"This activity was taking place from late August 2018 [when details of the complaints first leaked] to January 2019 [when the Scottish Government conceded the judicial review], after the police investigation had started.

"The Judicial Review cannot be viewed in isolation. The effect of it, and its likely result of a defeat for the Scottish Government led to the need to escalate these matters to the police, even if that meant doing so entirely against the wishes of the two women who had raised concerns."

Salmond concludes the submission by saying: “The real cost to the Scottish people runs into many millions of pounds and yet no-one in this entire process has uttered the simple words which are necessary on occasions to renew and refresh democratic institutions - ‘I Resign’.” 

Responding to Salmond's submission, an SNP spokesperson said:"This is just more assertion without a shred of credible evidence. 

"Several of the women have already made clear how utterly absurd it is to suggest they were part of a conspiracy to bring him down. And yet Alex Salmond is still making these ridiculous and baseless claims and lashing out at all and sundry. 

"People who supported him loyally for years and worked tirelessly to get him elected don’t deserve these smears. And women who made complaints about his behaviour - who barely merit a mention in his conspiracy dossier - most certainly deserve better."