ALEX Salmond has released a new statement today as Holyrood goes into recess before the May elections.

Nicola Sturgeon’s predecessor issued his response after James Hamilton, the independent adviser on the ministerial code, and the harassment committee published its reports earlier this week.

Salmond said he would be reporting to the police the leak of the Scottish Government's report into the complaints made against him to the Daily Record - and separately taking legal action against the Scottish Government over Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans's conduct.

"This is my third and final public statement on the subject of the parliamentary and Hamilton investigations and the Dunlop Review," he said.

"The inquiries are over and despite their manifest limitations, the findings are in and must be accepted, just like the verdicts of juries and the judgements of courts.

"A year ago, outside the High Court, I said that there was evidence which I wished to see the light of day. Some of that key material, including the government legal advice, eventually emerged through the Parliamentary Committee. Much of it did not."

He added: "A month ago, I gave public evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry itself. I called for some in leadership positions to consider their position. It is in the public interest that such action be taken to prevent a damaging erosion of trust in the institutions of government. As the record shows I did not call for the resignation of the First Minister.

"I have waited to see the response from those individuals to the publication of the Inquiry reports. Unfortunately, it appears that the clear intention is to carry on regardless.

"Thus I intend to take two specific actions which emerge directly from the findings of these reports.

"First, the Parliamentary Committee has made clear that the catastrophic failures in this matter are not just systemic, but can properly be laid at the door of individuals, and in particular, the Permanent Secretary. (para 599 Committee Report)

"I was previously forced to take the Permanent Secretary to the Court of Session over the illegality of her actions and was successful. Despite being found responsible for that unlawful and unfair process and incurring a vast and avoidable cost to the taxpayer of over £600,000 in legal expenses, the Permanent Secretary did not offer her resignation on January 8, 2019.

"Now, more than two years later, and despite the most damning condemnation from a Committee in the history of the modern Scottish Parliament, the Permanent Secretary still refuses to accept real responsibility.

"Instead, the waste of public resources has continued to grow as has the impact on all the people concerned. 

"This cannot stand. I have therefore taken legal advice and will shortly be instructing my lawyers to bring proceedings in the Court of Session arising as a direct result of the conduct of the Permanent Secretary.  I hope it is the only legal action that I am required to take. 

"I have complete faith in the outcome of that Court process, coming as it does with all the proper powers of recovery of documents and thus the ability to properly interrogate those individuals responsible, the absence of which so restricted the Parliamentary Committee.  

"Secondly, the report of Mr James Hamilton makes clear that the question of the leak of the story of the original complaints in August 2018 was not part of his remit but should instead be referred to the Police.

"The Parliamentary Committee Report was fully condemnatory of that same leak noting the extreme level of damage to all concerned. I agree. (para 17 of Hamilton Report, paras 408-414 of Committee report) 

"I will accordingly now make that complaint to the Police and allow them to discover who within the Scottish Government was responsible for passing these details to the Daily Record newspaper. I have every confidence that Police Scotland will pursue that matter with rigour.

"I intend to make no further public comment on these issues and will leave the police and the courts to do their job.

"Instead I intend to move on, just as Scotland should now move on to debate the key election issues before us all, principally economic recovery from the pandemic and the future independence of our country.”

Responding to the former first minister's statement a Scottish Government spokesman said the First Minister continued to have confidence in the Permanent Secretary.

He said: “It is noted that Mr Salmond accepts the findings of the inquiries.

“The Scottish Government has been clear that it will reflect carefully on the reports published in recent days and that lessons will be learned.  The First Minister retains her confidence in the Permanent Secretary, who has operated at all times in line with the Civil Service Code and legal advice received. 

“It would be inappropriate to comment on a hypothetical legal action or in relation to a matter which Mr Salmond has said that he may raise with the Police.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Scottish Government is clear that both an Information Commissioner’s Office investigation and an internal leak inquiry found no evidence to support Mr Salmond’s claims that there was any leak from the Scottish Government about the complaints made against him.”

On Monday, James Hamilton, the former director of public prosecutions in Ireland, cleared Nicola Sturgeon of any breaches of the ministerial code in relation to meetings she had with her predecessor and over her actions relating to the case when he published his 60-page report.

The following day, a Holyrood committee ruled by majority the First Minister misled Parliament over “an inaccurate account” of her actions.

She has denied doing so and described the committee’s conclusion, leaked last week, as “partisan”. The finding was disputed by the four SNP members of the committee.

But the Holyrood committee's 192-page report also listed a series of flaws in the government's handling of the complaints in three areas - over the drawing up of the procedure, its implementation and its response to the judicial review by Salmond. These were unanimously agreed by the committee's members.

It was reported over the weekend the two women whose complaints about Salmond sparked the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation told MSPs in a private session of a “toxic culture” while Salmond was First Minister and Sturgeon his deputy.

In evidence to the inquiry, the First Minister said she had “no general concerns at the time about Scottish government culture from 2008-14, and certainly not about sexual harassment”. However, MSPs were told of an atmosphere demeaning to women at the time, with one of the female civil servants saying it was “like the Wild West in there”.

The leak of the women's evidence, given in a private committee session last Monday, was met with anger and prompted calls for a probe into the leaks.