HOLYROOD’S harassment complaints committee have now been handed WhatsApp messages from the Crown Office that Alex Salmond has claimed proves there was a high level plot by Nicola Sturgeon’s allies to ruin him and even send him to jail.

At the end of his oral evidence to MSPs last month, the former First Minister suggested if they could not get the information from the Crown Office they could seek a court order and force his lawyer to hand over the material.

However, yesterday a spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament told The National that the committee has now been supplied with the communications and that it would examine them tomorrow. He went on to say the committee would also consider at the meeting whether it had received the Scottish Government’s legal advice to the judicial review brought by Salmond that it needed.

“The committee has received communications in a release of information from the Crown Office and will consider it for a second time tomorrow,” he said.

“The committee will also discuss whether members have sufficient legal advice from the Scottish Government tomorrow at their meeting in the morning.”

In his written evidence, published by the committee, Salmond did not use the word “conspiracy” but said he was “very clear” that there was evidence which supported “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”.

He added: “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.”

He said in his written submission that the “most obvious and compelling evidence” was contained in material 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.”

READ MORE: James Hamilton: Who is the man who could decide Nicola Sturgeon's future?

The messages were brought up when Salmond appeared in person before the committee on February 26 as Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell read out one from Peter Murrell which stated: “TBH the more fronts he is having to firefight on the better for all complainers. So CPS action would be a good thing.”

In one of the most emotional parts of the six hour long hearing Salmond said he was told about the ­communications ahead of his ­criminal trial – in which he was cleared of all charges last March.

“On January 22 last year, the preliminary hearing of the criminal case, we were presented with a memory stick by the Crown Office, under disclosure. We were not able to use it in the preliminary hearing, which was extremely unfortunate,” he said.

“The next day, in the offices of Levy & McRae, we went through a series of messages. It was one of the most extraordinary days of my life.

“I am not allowed to describe the messages in any detail, but let us say that I recognise the one that you have just read out. There are many other messages, and what they speak to is behaviour that I would never have countenanced from people I had known, in some cases, for 30 years.”

He added: “In my opinion, there has been behaviour that was about not only pressurising the police – like the one that you read out – but about pressurising witnesses and collusion with witnesses. We are talking about the construction of evidence, because the police were somehow felt to be inadequate in finding it themselves.”

The First Minister has repeatedly denied there was a conspiracy against Salmond or that she was “out to get him”.

Appearing at the Holyrood committee last Wednesday she dismissed the allegation in her opening statement and also during the eight hours of questions and answers.

“I feel I must rebut the absurd suggestion that anyone acted with malice or as part of a plot against Alex Salmond. That claim is not based in any fact,” she said.

MSPs are at the final stages of their inquiry into the Scottish ­Government’s investigation into ­complaints made against Salmond, which a judicial review found was unlawful, unfair and “tainted by ­apparent bias”.

The former First Minister was awarded more than £500,000 in legal expenses from the public purse when he won his civil case against the government.

The Holyrood inquiry was set up to find out want went wrong in the Scottish Government’s investigation and what lessons can be learned.

Salmond won his judicial review after it came to light that the investigating officer appointed by the government had prior contacts with the two civil servants who had made the complaints.

A separate inquiry is also ongoing into whether the First Minister broke the ministerial code.

It is being conducted by James Hamilton QC and is due to report in the coming weeks.