FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has been summoned to give evidence next week in a £3.5 million case against Scottish ministers due to be heard in the Court of Session.

Lawyers acting for a Southampton-based road-gritting company have asked the First Minister to take the stand to answer for the Scottish Government's actions, reportedly including the procurement of "emergency" salt supplies from Ineos in Grangemouth.

The case, to be heard before Lord Woolman from Tuesday to May 20, concerns Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland's alleged failure to put out to public tender a contract to supply road salt in the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11.

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Nationwide Gritting Services (NGS) claims that under regulations it was the only major gritting company in the UK not to supply Scotland with salt in the years in question.