ALEX Salmond has demanded the Crown Office reveal if they were instructed to put pressure on parliament to redact his evidence. 

The former First Minister was due to be in front of Holyrood’s harassment committee this morning but pulled out yesterday after a last-minute intervention from prosecutors saw chunks of his written submission to the ministerial code probe censored. 

READ MORE: Alex Salmond inquiry: Crown Office demands see former First Minister cancel appearance

Now his lawyers have written to Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, asking him to detail what “new information or intervention” led to the action taken by the Crown Office.

The law chief has also been instructed to “preserve and retain all material and communications with all or any third parties which led to their decision to intervene at the very last minute”.

Meanwhile, Labour's Jackie Baillie has demanded Wolffe appear before MSPs this afternoon to answer questions.

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.

Salmond could still appear before the committee on Friday. His legal team are taking time “to consider the full implications" of the decision to redact five of the 33 sections of his submission.

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

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.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says Alex Salmond doesn't have 'shred of evidence' of conspiracy

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the former SNP chief said: “Mr Salmond has never refused to give evidence and remains happy to do so. On Monday, he had confirmed attendance at the Parliamentary Committee today to deliver his evidence. His submissions had been approved and were published that day. Logistical and health and safety arrangements had been made for the evidence session and travel plans had been organised. 

“On Monday afternoon the First Minister preemptively announced that there was no evidence of wrongdoing on her government’s part. This was before Mr Salmond’s evidence was even published 

“Then late on Monday night, after publication on the Parliamentary website the Crown Office intervened, which led to redaction of substantial sections of some of the very evidence the First Minister claimed did not exist. 

“In light of this astonishing decision to intervene at the eleventh hour and in light of the timing, Mr Salmond asked the Committee to defer his evidence by 48 hours to enable his legal team to consider the full implications of this extraordinary intervention.” 

Salmond’s lawyers have asked Lord Advocate James Wolffe for “an explanation for the Crown’s unprecedented and highly irregular actions".

In particular, they’ve asked for the legal basis for the Crown’s intervention, and why there had been no complaint about the paragraphs they asked to have removed until now.

They’ve also asked what “new information or intervention led to such a dramatic expansion of the material which the Parliament has been required to redact”.

And, they’ve also requested details of any representations made to the Crown Office on this evidence. 

The Crown Office has been approached for comment. 

Separately, Scottish Labour’s interim leader Jackie Baillie has demanded the Lord Advocate appears before Parliament today to answer an urgent question on the redactions. 

The MSP who also sits on the harassment committee said: “The credibility of the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints, and indeed the credibility of the entire Parliament, hangs in the balance.

“The Crown Office’s unprecedented intervention yesterday demands explanation – we cannot have this Parliament cowed into submission by the will of the Crown Office.

“The Lord Advocate must appear before the Parliament to explain the actions of the Crown Office immediately.”

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.