NICOLA Sturgeon faces difficult questions at the Holyrood harassment inquiry today after two senior SNP figures questioned her account of meetings with Alex Salmond

Former party strategist Kevin Pringle, and advocate Duncan Hamilton - a former MSP - have told the committee that the First Minister knew she was meeting Salmond in her house on April 2 to discuss the complaints against him.

She has previously said that the first she knew of the allegations and the investigation was when he told her at that meeting.

However, it later emerged that she met Geoff Aberdein, Salmond’s former chief of staff, in her office on March 29, 2018.

Sturgeon has since said that she had forgotten that meeting, that it was opportunistic and casual and that it “never held any significance” in her head.

Salmond had said this is untenable and that the meeting was formal, and explicitly set up to talk about the investigation.

Last Friday, he told the committee this could be backed up by Aberdein, Pringle and Hamilton. MSPs then wrote to the men asking for their recollections.

In his submission, Pringle writes: “Based on my contact with Mr Aberdein, I know he was clear that the purpose of the meeting on 29 March 2018 was to discuss the two complaints that had been made against Mr Salmond.”

Hamilton also confirmed this in his letter.

He said: "I spoke to Geoff Aberdein on 29 March 2018 after his meeting in the Scottish Parliament. At that time, he intimated that a further meeting would be arranged to discuss the complaints with the First Minister.

"That meeting was arranged for 2 April 2018. I was invited to that meeting and travelled to it along with Mr Salmond and Mr Aberdein. 

"I would further note that the letter received from the Scottish Government was the sole focus of the meeting.

"Further, when we arrived, everyone in the room knew exactly why we were there. No introduction to the subject was needed and no one was in any doubt what we were there to discuss."

Hamilton also said the First Minister offered to intervene in the government’s investigation, something she has denied repeatedly.

He said: “I can confirm that the First Minister    did offer to assist. We discussed mediation. My clear recollection is that her words were, ‘if it comes to it, I will intervene.”

He said he discussed the comment to intervene with Salmond and Aberdein after the meeting, as it was the most legally significant moment of the night.

Hamilton also backed up Salmond's claim that the identity of one of the female civil servants who accusing the ex-SNP leader of harassment was shared with Aberdein by a government official. 

Last Thursday Sturgeon told MSPs: “To the very best of my knowledge, I do not think that that happened.”

Hamilton said: "I can also confirm that I was told the name of a complainant by Mr Aberdein (Mr Salmond’s former Chief of Staff) in the early part of March 2018.

"I cannot recall the precise date, but it was very shortly after the 7th March 2018, the date Mr Salmond received his letter.

"The name of the complainant had been given to Mr Aberdein by a senior government official."

This was supported by Pringle.

The First Minister is facing calls to resign, with the Tories set to table a motion of no confidence. 

A spokesman for Sturgeon said: “The First Minister will address all of the issues raised – and much more besides – at the committee tomorrow, while the independent adviser on the ministerial code will report in due course. "