NICOLA Sturgeon has said a “very partisan leak” from the Alex Salmond inquiry is “not that surprising”, as the committee is understood to have deemed she misled parliament.

Sky News reported that the word “knowingly” was not included in the text agreed by the committee.

MSPs on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee voted 5-4, along party lines, that the First Minister gave an “inaccurate” account of a meeting with her predecessor during the live investigation, according to a source.

This would amount to misleading the Scottish Parliament. It is unclear, however, whether the act was deemed a resignation-worthy offence.

The National:

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said the committee is still considering its report, though it is expected to be published in the coming days.

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was set up after a successful judicial review by Salmond resulted in the Scottish Government’s investigation being ruled unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”, with a £512,250 payout being awarded to him for legal fees.

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A spokesman for the First Minister said: “The First Minister told the truth to the committee in eight hours of evidence, and stands by that evidence.

“It is clear from past public statements that opposition members of this committee had prejudged the First Minister at the outset of the inquiry and before hearing a word of her evidence, so this partisan and selective briefing – before the committee has actually published its final report – is hardly surprising.

“The question of the First Minister’s adherence to the Ministerial Code is being considered independently by James Hamilton, and we expect to receive and publish his report soon.”

Later, speaking to Sky, Sturgeon said: “I stand by all of the evidence I gave to the committee, all eight hours’ worth of evidence.

“What’s been clear is that opposition members of this committee made their minds up about me before I muttered a single word of evidence, their public comments have made that clear.

“So this leak from the committee – very partisan leak – tonight before they’ve finalised the report is not that surprising.”

The latest development comes after the Crown Office said there will be no investigation into claims made by David Davis suggesting there may have been a criminal conspiracy against Salmond.

However, prosecutors are still considering whether to probe how the former Brexit secretary came into possession of confidential material he made public in the Commons on Tuesday night.

Davis (below) used parliamentary privilege to reveal “whistleblower” information about the fall out of the Scottish Government’s investigation into complaints against Salmond and to claim Sturgeon misled Holyrood – an accusation she has repeatedly denied.

He alleged he had been passed messages which pointed to “a criminal conspiracy” by senior SNP figures to remove Salmond from public life and even have him imprisoned.

The National:

Regarding the claims, a spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said yesterday “there was no evidential basis to support the instruction of a criminal investigation”.

He said: “The material at issue was gathered and considered by Police Scotland who routinely assess information for the presence of criminal conduct.

“The Crown are satisfied that having regard to the full messages in the context of other messages and the entire evidence in the case there is no evidential basis to support the instruction of a criminal investigation.

“In all matters relating to the investigation and prosecution of Alex Salmond, and in subsequent issues, COPFS has acted with impartiality and fairness to apply the law professionally, independently and in the public interest.

“Where appropriate the Crown has taken steps to protect the administration of justice and the rights of all those involved in the criminal proceedings.”

Asked if there were inquiries to find out how Davis came into possession of the material, he added: “We are considering if further investigation is required, so not underway.”