IN an unprecedented step, three of the four SNP members on Holyrood’s harassment inquiry attacked opposition members, describing their conduct as “disgraceful and wrong”.

The move came after a series of conclusions surfaced over the probe’s findings regarding First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The committee, set up to investigate the botched handling of complaints against Alex Salmond, voted 5-4 on Thursday to conclude Sturgeon had misled them in her written evidence over a meeting with her predecessor.

According to Sky News, the Holyrood committee also finds it “hard to believe” Sturgeon’s testimony of when she first heard about concerns relating to the former First Minister’s alleged behaviour.

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Sturgeon has claimed she first became aware of any potential inappropriate conduct by her predecessor after a media inquiry in November 2017 about an alleged incident involving female staff at Edinburgh Airport back in 2013.

Further leaks suggest a passage has been included in the committee’s report explaining how a majority of members are “concerned” at how it took Sturgeon two months to tell the head of Scotland’s civil service, permanent secretary Leslie Evans, that she knew about the investigation.

Stuart McMillan, Alasdair Allan and Maureen Watt signed a statement about the conduct of opposition MSPs.

“This committee was meant to carry out a dispassionate search for the truth,” the statement said.

“But, at the very last minute, without full consideration of the evidence, the opposition railroaded through their prejudged assertions based purely on political considerations.

“On the question of the First Minister offering to intervene, there are two sides of the story and we have evidence from both sides. We have also heard clear, consistent evidence that the First Minister had no knowledge of concerns of inappropriate sexual behaviour by Alex Salmond before November 2017.

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“Yet, without a shred of evidence to the contrary, the opposition simply used their majority on the committee to insert 11th-hour predetermined political assertions that have no basis in fact. That is simply disgraceful and wrong.

“For the opposition, this was never about the truth. It was never about the evidence and, shamefully, it was never even about the women. All of these are being sacrificed in pursuit of political ends.

“This is the politics of desperation by the opposition members.”

Committee convener, Linda Fabiani, also an SNP MSP, did not put her name to the statement.

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In a statement released yesterday, the First Minister’s spokesman said the claim was not supported by a single shred of evidence.

“Sadly, she is not the first woman let down by a man she once trusted to face that charge, and regrettably she is unlikely to be the last,” he said.

“On this, the committee appears to have resorted to baseless assertion, supposition and smear – that is not how serious parliamentary committees are supposed to work, and in behaving this way they are simply exposing their base political motives.”