ALEX Salmond’s lead defence lawyer is facing a conduct probe after being overheard discussing the case on public transport, including the names of two complainers whose anonymity is protected by law.

Gordon Jackson QC today referred himself to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) after a video emerged of him discussing highly sensitive information on a train earlier this month.

The video, published by The Sunday Times, also showed Mr Jackson describing the former First Minister as "quite an objectionable bully to work with" and "a nightmare to work for".

He characterised some of his client's conduct towards some of the complainers as "inappropriate, a***hole, stupid.. but sexual?"

He then named two complainers who "unfortunately... say it's sexual".

Trial judge Lady Dorrian issued an explicit order banning the women's identification, or any information that might lead to it.

The video was taken in the first week of the trial.

Mr Jackson, 71, who helped secure Mr Salmond’s acquittal on 13 sexual assault charges, is Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, the body for Scotland’s most senior lawyers.

There is now pressure on him to step aside as Dean, a position he was elected to in 2016.

The SLCC considers complaints of professional misconduct against advocates, defined as “conduct which is not of the standard which could reasonably be expected of a competent and reputable advocate”.

The SLCC can then remit misconduct complaints to the Faculty of Advocates, whose Disciplinary Tribunal has the power to expel advocates.

In a statement, the Faculty made plain its displeasure with Mr Jackson’s behaviour.

Roddy Dunlop, QC, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates said: “The Faculty takes this matter extremely seriously.

“It plainly warrants investigation, but as the Dean has self-referred to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission it would not be appropriate for the Faculty to comment further.”

In a second statement issued by the Faculty which still referred to him as Dean, Mr Jackson said: “I have decided that the proper course of action is to self-refer this matter to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and that has been done.

“It will be for the Commission to consider this matter.

“To be clear, however, I do not regard Alex Salmond as a ‘sex pest’, and any contrary impression is wrong.

"I also deeply regret the distress and difficulties which have been caused, but given the reference to the SLCC it would not be appropriate to comment further.”