The Scottish Government has been forced to payout more than £500,000 in legal costs to Alex Salmond following their court battle over a botched misconduct probe.

In January 2018, Mr Salmond was accused of inappropriate behaviour and an internal investigation was carried out by officials.

However, the former First Minister went on to launch a judicial review into the way the probe was carried out and the government was forced to admit it had breached guidelines by appointing an investigating officer who had "prior involvement".

Ministers have now confirmed that they have paid the substantial settlement for his expenses in the case.

A Scottish Government spokesman said today: “We can confirm that final settlement of £512,250 has been made to Mr Salmond for legal costs arising from his petition for judicial review.” 

MSPs at Holyrood have established an inquiry into what went wrong with the Scottish Government's probe, but it has been suspended until a criminal case against Mr Salmond concludes.

Despite this, opposition MSPs have now stepped up calls for Holyrood to "get to the bottom" of the failed investigation.

Scottish Conservative MSP, and member of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Donald Cameron said: “It is outrageous that over half a million pounds has been wasted thanks to the botched handling of this investigation.

“This is taxpayers’ money that will be handed over to Alex Salmond thanks to the appalling way these complaints were dealt with."

The payout also came under fire from Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Parliament will have to get to the bottom of this expensive and flawed inquiry,” he said.

Following a separate police investigation, Mr Salmond was subsequently charged with with a string of sexual offences which he denies.