ALEX Salmond has been accused of “nasty, vindictive” behaviour and undermining the civil service by the union boss representing the Scottish Government’s most senior officials.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA, also claimed Mr Salmond was encouraging his supporters to attack Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans.

Ms Evans oversaw the in-house investigation into Mr Salmond after two women raised sexual misconduct complaints against him in January.

The allegations relate to 2013, when he was First Minister.

When Ms Evans told Mr Salmond last week that the investigation was over and she intended to publicise it, he started legal action against her and the government.

Mr Salmond has repeatedly singled out Ms Evans for criticism, and named her first respondent in his judicial review at the Court of Session to overturn her decision.

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Writing in the Times, Mr Penman said Mr Salmond had been investigated by an "impartial civil servant" under a process championed by the current First Minister.

However Mr Penman said Mr Salmond had omitted that from his public comments, and dubbed the process the “Leslie Evans procedure” when it was equally Nicola Sturgeon’s.

He wrote: “It is owned by the Scottish Government and, as Ms Sturgeon herself made clear, she agreed to it in 2017.

“Mr Salmond’s decision to attack the integrity of Scotland’s most senior civil servant is no accident.he would be aware that his supporters would jump on this bandwagon.

“While accused of sexual harassment, a claim he denies, Mr Salmond attacks and threatens with legal action the individual tasked with investigating those complaints.

“As a former First Minister, he knows Ms Evans is duty-bound to investigate complaints. Not only is this nasty, vindictive and deliberate, it also has broad consequences.

“Mr Salmond’s actions undermine the integrity and impartiality of the civil service, thereby damaging the Scottish Government itself. Clearly, it’s a price he believes is worth paying.”

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Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly given her support to Ms Evans in her handling on the complaints, which was dealt with under a new process for former ministers.

Ms Sturgeon, who signed off the system in December 2017, said on Friday: “The Permanent Secretary was absolutely right to ensure that the procedure was applied in this case and she has my full support in having done so.”

Mr Penman’s criticism follows the FDA and two other civil service unions, Prospect and PCS, jointly backing the Scottish Government’s complaints process.

The unions also gave their “full support” to Ms Evans personally.

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After meeting Ms Evans to seek reassurances that other complains would be handled properly, they said this week: “The unions are confident that the Scottish Government processes which we negotiated are valid and robust and if any member wishes to make a complaint then they will receive the full support of their trade union.

“We also indicated our full support to the Permanent Secretary personally in leading the process and would encourage any worker with any concerns to come forward.”

A spokesperson for Mr Salmond said: “We are entirely focussed on preparing for Judicial Review in the Court of Session and just not interested in exchanging barbs with Mr Penman.

"Every citizen should  uphold the right to test the lawfulness of such matters in the highest court in Scotland.”