A FORMER Holyrood Presiding Officer has attacked the process used by the Scottish Government to investigate Alex Salmond for alleged sexual misconduct.

The complaints handling process was drawn up by Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans and signed off by Nicola Sturgeon.

After Mr Salmond won his judicial review at the Court of Session on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon insisted the process remained “fair and robust”, despite a fatal flaw in the former First Minister’s case.

However Trica Marwick, a former SNP MSP who was Presiding Officer from 2011-2016, said her “instinct” from the beginning was that the procedure was unfair.

She criticised it for covering complaints against former ministers, despite the lack of any obvious sanction which could be applied to them. She contrasted it with a Holyrood code of conduct which deals only with serving MSPs.

She expressed “concern” that Judith Mackinnon, the Investigating Officer whose prior contact with Mr Salmond’s accusers tainted and collapsed the inquiry, had not recused herself.

Mr Marwick, who stood next to Mr Salmond as her addressed the media outside court after the Government climbdown, told The Herald: “I felt from the beginning that the process for was unfair. My instinct was that the process was unfair.

“I could not understand why there was a retrospective code of conduct for ministers. I think it’s strange. How can you retrospectively apply a code to somebody who is no longer there?”

Ms Marwick refused to comment on whether Ms Evans should resign.

But she said: “What I do know is that public money to the extent of six figures has been bandied about and that’s a serious concern for something the government now admits was unlawful and tainted yu apparent bias.

“I think it’s up to others who are more political than me to consider what the options are.”

On Ms MacKinnon, she said: “That was one of the surprises. An HR professional should have been very aware of proper process and the need to ensure that process was always seen to be independent.

“The fact that it was a senior HR person in the Government rather a junior official [who did not recuse themselves] is concerning.”