MSPs are demanding a slew of new information on Police Scotland's "spying" row as they prepare for a constitutional stand-off with the force.

Holyrood's justice committee has already called four operational officers to appear before it in what police chiefs fear is an assault on their operational independence.

However, they also want a detailed chronology of how Police Scotland came to breach new data guidelines on accessing the data of potential journalist sources.

Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson is seeking legal advice while he consider the MSPs' "invitation" and their requests for extra information.

MSPs on the committee say they still have questions for Mr Richardson and his subordinates on the row.

Mr Richardson, who is in currently in charge of the force, appeared at the committee this week, insisting the breaches had been a "mistake" he blamed on one officer's "misinterpretation" of new guidelines, the speed of their introduction and insufficient training.

The mistake was made when officers from Police Scotland's Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) investigated potential leaks of confidential information about a murder inquiry to the Sunday Mail newspaper.

Such a leak would be a criminal offence. CCU accessed communications data on five occasions, including, twice, phone bills without judicial authority.

Since March, police have had to seek judicial approval to identify journalistic sources.

Last month, Sir Stanley Burton, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, said Police Scotland had contravened the relevant Code of Practice on five occasions.

Police Scotland did not do any covert surveillance or interceptions, so insiders deny any suggestion they "spied" on either journalists or their sources.

CCU officers, however, check to see if some officers had been in electronic or telephone contact with journalists or their intermediaries.

This occurred 22 days after the new rules came in to force.

MSPs were not satisfied with Mr Richardson's explanation. Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell attacked Mr Richardson over "smoke and mirrors about 22-day-old new code-of-practice guidelines that somehow someone couldn't interpret".

The committee, in a letter to Mr Richardson, has therefore sought information about how much notice the force had about the change in guidelines and when training was rolled out to officers on its implementation.

Police Scotland has agreed to an action plan Sir Stanley Burton to rectify its mistakes, which were described as "reckless" by the watchdog. The justice committee has also sought details on how this plan's implementation.

Another force, in England or Wales, also breached the guidelines shortly after their introduction.