A TORY MP has accused the Scottish Government of threatening the “rule of law” by refusing to release documents relating to its handling of accusations made against Alex Salmond.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the Scottish Government must make public evidence it submitted to the Hamilton Inquiry, which cleared Nicola Sturgeon of breaching the ministerial code.

In 2021, the inquiry led by senior Irish lawyer James Hamilton concluded its investigations into what Sturgeon (below) knew and when about the accusations of sexual misconduct against Salmond.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

But last month the Scottish Government lost a legal battle against the Information Commissioner after officials refused to publish the evidence gathered by Hamilton in his investigation.

While the Court of Session’s ruling does not compel the Scottish Government to release the documents, it did mean they were obliged to reconsider the initial request for them, which was made under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

The Herald reported earlier this week that in response to a fresh FOI request, the paper was told that every word on every page that has not already been released is still covered by an exemption.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond trial: The timeline of events that led up to verdict

The Scottish Government argued it was entitled to an exemption from releasing the information on the grounds that disclosure could result in officials not complying with future investigations.

Davis raised the Court of Session ruling in the Commons on Thursday morning in a question to Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

He said: “Some time ago, the Scottish Government refused an instruction from the Information Commissioner to publish written evidence from the Hamilton Inquiry into the conduct of the former first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“Last month, I attended the Court of Session hearing at which the Scottish Government were humiliated, at great public expense, in their attempt to reject the request.

“Despite a unanimous ruling against them by the highest civil court in Scotland, the Scottish Government still refuse to release that information.

“That extraordinary behaviour would appear to be in breach of the ministerial code, the civil service code and, indeed, the rule of law. May I ask the Leader of the House whether the rule of law in Scotland is at risk and whether we can have a debate and a statement on this matter?”

Mordaunt (below) described the matter as “disturbing” but said there was “debate about whether the court decision is binding”.

The National: Penny Mordaunt

She added: “We consider it to be a matter of accountability to the Scottish Parliament. I am sure that the Scottish Parliament will be asking questions of their Government.”

Speaking to The National afterwards, Davis argued the controversy surrounding the documents was “of a piece with other behaviours” of the Scottish Government, including ministers and officials deleting WhatsApp messages ahead of the Covid inquiry.

He said: “It indicates that they are covering something up that they are very nervous of.”

Releasing the information has implicitly been deemed “legitimate” by Hamilton, the Information Commissioner and three Court of Session judges, Davis argued.

He added: “Any excuse of the Scottish Government, I’m afraid, dissolves in the face of those three authorities.”

While Hamilton cleared Sturgeon of breaking the rules and of misleading Parliament, he concluded she had provided an incomplete version of events to MSPs about her meetings with Salmond after he was accused of inappropriate behaviour.

He was acquitted of 14 criminal charges, including attempted rape and sexual assault, in March 2020 and the year before received more than £512,000 from the Scottish Government after a judicial review into its botched investigation into claims against him.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In line with the judgment from the Court of Session in December, we have reviewed the material held and responded in compliance with FOI legislation, applying statutory exemptions as appropriate.

"The Court of Session did not instruct the Scottish Government to release material."