THE Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched sexual misconduct probe into Alex Salmond and its aftermath is to restart after the former First Minister’s trial.

The cross-party committee into the Government’s handling of harassment complaints is to hold a virtual meeting on June 22.

The committee was effectively mothballed last year after Mr Salmond was charged with a series of sexual assaults relating to his time in office.

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However, following his acquittal on all 13 counts in March, the inquiry is free to resume its work without the risk of prejudicing proceedings.

The committee’s focus is the Government’s in-house probe into two complaints of sexual misconduct made against Mr Salmond in 2018 by two female civil servants.

The inquiry’s existence became public in August that year, and Mr Salmond resigned from the SNP after 45 years as a member in the resulting furore.

He then launched a crowd-funded judicial review at the Court of Session to have the probe’s findings struck down.

In January 2019, the Scottish Government was forced to admit in court that its probe had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias” because the investigating officer had been in prior contact with the complainants.

Taxpayers were left with a £500,000 bill for Mr Salmond’s legal costs as a result.

It then emerged that Nicola Sturgeon had stayed in contact with Mr Salmond while he was being investigated by her officials.

She said Mr Salmond had told her about the probe for the first time at a meeting at her house in early 2019, when he made it clear he thought it should be stopped.

Even though she was not supposed to know about the probe, Ms Sturgeon failed to tell the Scottish Government’s top official - Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans - about what Mr Salmond had told her for another month.

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The First Minister only mentioned it on the eve of meeting Mr Salmond a second time, at the SNP conference in Aberdeen.

She then met Mr Salmond for a third time and spoke to him twice on the phone.

MSPs on the committee will examine how the Government probe was bungled, and whether Ms Sturgeon’s behaviour was proper - the code of conduct for ministers suggests her private meetings with Mr Salmond should have been reported to officials immediately.

Ms Sturgeon denies breaking the code, and has said she is happy to cooperate with the inquiry.

Mr Salmond is currently writing a book about the “nightmare” of his prosecution and trial.