ALEX Salmond has pulled out of tomorrow's Holyrood harassment inquiry after the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body unexpectedly deleted parts of his testimony.

Lawyers for the former First Minister said the surprise decision left their client facing "legal jeopardy". 

Salmond has offered to appear before the committee on Friday instead, giving him time to "consider this material shift in position."

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson confirmed the news. They said MSPs would now meet in private tomorrow to discuss the next steps.

With only a handful of weeks until the election, the committee is fast running out of time to write its report. They're  due to take evidence from Nicola Sturgeon next week.

The decision to edit Salmond's evidence came after the Crown Office told the parliament they had “grave concerns” over the submission.

It was briefly taken offline on Tuesday morning before being uploaded later in the day with the changes.

Information redacted or not published cannot be considered by the committee for their final report, which ultimately means it cannot be raised during the evidence session with Salmond or Sturgeon.

In the document - which is Salmond’s submission to the prosecutor led inquiry into whether or not Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code - he accuses his successor of misleading MSPs and flouting strict rules on transparency and accountability.

He has previously tied his appearance to the publication of the submission.

The harassment inquiry had twice, by a slim majority, voted against publishing the dossier. Parliament’s lawyers had previously warned that it could lead to the women involved in Salmond’s criminal trial being identified, breaching a contempt of court order.

The committee's unwillingness to publish, saw the Spectator magazine going to the High Court, asking for the order to be amended.

While Lady Dorrian agreed to tweak, there were legal arguments over the impact of the change. 

At a crunch meeting of the SPCB last Thursday, they decided to overrule the committee, saying that “on balance” it was “possible to publish” the dossier.

On Monday evening, after the document was shared, the Crown Office wrote to parliament with their concerns, prompting the shock u-turn from the SPCB.

In a letter to the committee, Salmond's lawyer, David Mckie from Levy & McRae said the intervention from the Crown came "as a significant surprise and concern, given that clear agreement was reached on publication of our client’s submissions which are now widely reported and in the public domain."

He said Salmond was "alarmed at the interference of the Crown Office in a Parliamentary Inquiry, particularly given Lady Dorrian’s judgment last week in which she clarified her previous Order and which indicated that the publication of submissions were largely matters for the Committee."

McKie urged the committee to explain the legal basis for the changes to Salmond's evidence. However, parliament said they were unable to do so.

Linda Fabiani, the committee's convenor, told the lawyer that the decision over the redactions was "a matter for the SPCB as publisher".

She said the "committee must now seek to complete its work on the basis of the information that can be published."

It's not yet clear if they will agree to hear Salmond's oral evidence on Friday.

The SPCB were also criticised by the SNP, who said the body should never have agreed to publish the information in the first place.

MSP George Adam said: “This is precisely the situation that I, Rape Crisis Scotland and others warned parliament about last week.

"All steps must now be taken to ensure complainers are properly protected in what remains of this committee's hearings.

"Those who have put their petty political games before the protection of complainers should hang their heads in shame.

"For parliament to appear to break a contempt of court order, against legal advice and despite having been warned in advance, is a disgrace.

"Those members of the committee and of the corporate body who agreed to behave in this way owe firstly the complainers, but also the whole parliament, an apology."

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 former SNP leader was cleared on 13 counts of sexual assault.

After the Scottish Government conceded the judicial review, Nicola Sturgeon referred herself to the independent advisers on the Ministerial Code over claims she had broken strict rules when meeting with Salmond about the complaints.

James Hamilton, a former director of public prosecutions in Ireland, has been tasked with investigating the First Minister’s actions.