NICOLA Sturgeon has refused to say whether her husband urged police and prosecution action against against Alex Salmond.

In a deeply uncomfortable FMQs, the First Minister said she would not answer questions for someone else when quizzed about her husband, SNP chief chief executive Peter Murrell.

She said: “I don’t think it is reasonable for me to be asked questions about things that other people might or might not have done.”

She then appeared to throw her husband under a bus by adding MSPs ought to question him instead.

It was “outrageous” that she was being expected in parliament “to answer questions on behalf of other people”, she added. 

READ MORE: Salmond inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell under fire for 'obstruction'

It came as Tory Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson accused Ms Sturgeon of a “shabby abuse of power” over the government's withholding of evidence to a Holyrood inquiry into Mr Salmond.

Leaked WhatsApp messages suggest that in January 2019, Mr Murrell wanted Mr Salmond to be investigated by the Metropolitan Police and Crown Office.

Ms Davidson said these included Mr Murrell purporting to say it was a “good time to be pressurising” police and “the more fronts he [Mr Salmond] is having to firefight on the better for all complainers”.

At the time, Mr Salmond has just won a civil legal action against Ms Sturgeon’s government, then been charged with sexual assault - he would later be acquitted on all counts at trial.

Asked if the WhatsApp messages were genuine, Ms Sturgeon said the leak of the messages was the subject of a police inquiry.

She said: “I don’t think it is reasonable for me to be asked questions about things that other people might or might not have done. Call the people who the messages are purported to come from and ask them the questions. Call me and I will answer for myself.”

READ MORE: Salmond inquiry: Former first minister given new deadline for evidence

Ms Davidson said it was a “complete nonsense” for Ms Sturgeon to try to wear different hats as SNP leader and First Minister.

She said: “It hides the real truth here, which is a shabby abuse of power this affair has revealed.”

Earlier this week, the inquiry suspended its witness hearings because of “obstruction”, citing a lack of evidence from the Government, Mr Salmond and Mr Murrell.

The inquiry is looking at how the Scottish 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 £512,250 bill for Mr Salmond’s costs, and the Holyrood inquiry is investigating what happened. 

On 17 January 2019, Ms Sturgeon gave an undertaking to parliament to “provide whatever material” the inquiry requested.

She said: “That is the definition of full, thorough and open inquiries. My commitment is that the Government and I will cooperate fully with it, which is, I think, appropriate.”

READ MORE: Salmond affair: Holyrood inquiry asks court for files withheld by Sturgeon's government

However her officials and ministers have since tried to block witnesses and withheld swathes of evidence, citing “legal privilege” despite waiving it for three judge-led inquiries. 

Ms Davidson asked what had caused Ms Sturgeon to break her word.

Ms Sturgeon said evidence had only been withheld for legal reasons.

“The idea that the SNP or the Scottish Government is trying to obstruct this committee bears no scrutiny whatsoever,” Ms Sturgeon said, to mocking jeers from opposition MSPs.

Ms Sturgeon also revealed she submitted “substantial written evidence” to the inquiry two months ago but it not been published and nor had she been asked to give oral evidence.

She said she was willing to give evidence to the committee any time it wanted. 

She said it was “outrageous” that she was being accused of not being prepared to answer questions and “in parliament being expected to answer questions on behalf of other people” 

She said: “If people want to take this seriously, then treat the committee process with respect and take this seriously.”