A SENIOR SNP MP has called for an investigation into Nicola Sturgeon’s husband amid claims he encouraged police action against Alex Salmond.

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said a probe was needed after the leak of WhatsApp messages purportedly sent by Peter Murrell, the chief executive of the SNP.

Mr MacAskill, who is the MP for East Lothian, told the Daily Record he had been sent the messages anonymously and had passed them to prosecutors and a Holyrood inquiry.

The messages purport to show Mr Murrell backing police and Crown Office action in relation to Mr Salmond in January 2019, the month he won a legal battle against Ms Sturgeon’s government.

Mr Salmond had launched a judicial review against the Government after it held a sexual misconduct probe into him in 2018 following complaints about his time as First Minister.

He had the exercise set aside by showing the probe was “tainted by apparent bias” because the investigating official had been in prior contact with his accusers.

His Court of Session victory left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs, and a Holyrood inquiry is now investigating how the Government bungled the probe and legal case.

READ MORE: Final cost of Alex Salmond legal fiasco ‘not possible’ to calculate

Shortly after Mr Salmond won his civil action, he was charged with multiple sexual assaults, which led to a criminal trial earlier this year at which he was acquitted on all 13 counts.

His supporters have since claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy by senior figures in the SNP who wanted to stop him making a political comeback and rivalling Ms Sturgeon.

Mr MacAskill told the Record: “I can confirm that I received an anonymous letter containing a document. 

“I have notified both Alex Salmond and the Crown and have passed it to the inquiry committee at the Scottish Parliament.

“I would like the Scottish Parliament and the Crown Office to investigate the contents of this document.”

Mr MacAskill, a support of Mr Salmond, recently claimed “dark forces” had been at work in his prosecution, with a huge police investigation out of all proportion to the alleged offences.

READ MORE: Salmond threatens Government with legal action to block release of documents

Mr Murrell is expected to be questioned under oath about his knowledge of the botched Government probe into Mr Salmond and what action the SNP took at the time.

He claimed in written evidence his wife did not tell him about the probe despite Mr Salmond raising it with her in the couple’s house in April 2018, while he was at also at home.

However the inquiry is not expected to publish Mr MacAskill’s submission because of concerns over its provenance, given its anonymous origin.

The Crown Office said:“We have no comment to make on the correspondence received from Mr MacAskill.”

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “All information received by the committee is considered in line with its statement on the handling of information.”

READ MORE: Sturgeon's government accused of 'cloak and dagger' leak to damage Salmond

Police Scotland said it “carried out a thorough investigation”.

The SNP was asked for comment but did not respond.