ALEX Salmond has been given a new date to submit potentially dramatic evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into his legal battle with Nicola Sturgeon’s Government.

The former First Minister was initially given a deadline of September 23, but complained he had been hamstrung by a prosecution threat about sharing certain documents.

He has now been given until the end of this week, October 2.

Although the inquiry is looking into his successful civil action against ministers in 2019, Mr Salmond had wanted to share defence evidence obtained for his 2020 criminal trial.

However that idea led to the Crown Office warning “in the strongest terms” that handing over defence material for a different purpose would be a “criminal offence”.

Mr Salmond’s lawyer, David McKie of Levy & McRae, said the constraint meant Mr Salmond could not “provide a statement or documents which are partial or piecemeal”.

He told the committee earlier this month: “Any meaningful statement necessarily will involve reference to a large amount of the material which he is not permitted to release.”

However in a new letter to Mr McKie, the inquiry said it would nevertheless like “as full a submission” as possible from Mr Salmond, including “documenting the level of restriction placed upon him”.

The cross-party inquiry is looking at how the Government botched an in-house probe into sexual misconduct claims made against Mr Salmond in 2018. 

Mr Salmond had the exercise set aside in a judicial review at the Court of Session, forcing ministers to admit it had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The collapse of the Government’s case in January 2019 left taxpayers with a £500,000 bill for Mr Salmond’s costs, and the Holyrood inquiry is investigating what happened. 

After winning his civil case, Mr Salmond was charged with sexual assault, leading to a High Court trial this year at which he was acquitted on all 13 counts.

Ms Sturgeon initially promised to give the inquiry whatever evidence it requested, but her ministers and officials have since withheld files and tried to block witnesses.

In her letter to Mr McKie, inquiry convener Linda Fabiani said: “The Committee [of inquiry] notes your client’s willingness to assist the committee and that he supports the disclosure of documents by the Scottish Government to the Committee. 

“The Committee notes the Scottish Government has also sought your client’s consent to provide the original Petition that initiated the judicial review and has also asked your client to confirm his position regarding sharing further pleadings. 

“The Committee assumes that your client will consent to what is being proposed. 

“Finally, the Committee notes the reasons set out in your letter in relation to the recovery of court documents. 

“The Committee reiterates its view that it would appreciate as full a submission at this stage that your client is able to make, and given the amount of time that has passed since we first wrote to your client and the revised deadlines which have been given, the Committee asks for this to be sent by Friday 2 October. 

“This could include documenting the level of restriction placed upon him. 

“As we have said previously, your client is of course able to make supplementary submissions later in the inquiry when he is able.”

In a separate letter to deputy First Minister John Swinney, Ms Fabiani again urged the Scottish Government to waive the “legal privilege” it has cited as grounds for withholding legal advice about the judicial review.

Reminding him SNP ministers had waived legal privilege in three judge-led inquiries, Ms Fabiani said: “Such disclosure is necessary to enable this Committee to properly discharge the constitutionally important functions of the Parliament: to promote the public interest by ensuring that the First Minister and Scottish Government are held to account for their actions in dealing with complaints about the former First Minister and to maintain public confidence in the conduct of Government litigation having due regard to the public purse.”