NICOLA Sturgeon’s chief of staff has been told to provide new evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair after failing to mention a mystery event.

Liz Lloyd has been asked to offer her “insight” into a court hearing about contact between Ms Sturgeon’s private office and a civil servant who later accused Mr Salmond of sexual misconduct.

The hearing, part of a process to recover Scottish Government documents, was called off at the last minute after ministers conceded defeat in their legal battle with Mr Salmond.

It emerged this week that Ms Lloyd would have been asked about the contact if the hearing, known as a Commission and Diligence, had gone ahead.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond affair: Nicola Sturgeon says ethics probe can look at whether she misled parliament

The Holyrood inquiry is looking at how the Scottish Government botched a probe into two sexual misconduct claims made against Mr Salmond in 2018.

The former First Minister had the exercise set aside in a judicial review at the Court of Session by showing it had been unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The Government’s mistake, which costs taxpayers £512,000 for his costs, is now being examined by MSPs.

Ms Lloyd was first asked to provide written evidence to the inquiry in July.

Referring to the Commission and Diligence process, she said: “I became aware on the afternoon of the 14th December 2018 that an order had been granted in relation to documents. 

“I was informed on the 23rd December 2018 of the existence of the document commission hearings part of the Judicial Review, but had no personal involvement and hold no information in relation to it. 

“I can also confirm that I hold no documents in relation to the Judicial Review.” 

However evidence from Mr Salmond’s lawyer this week revealed Ms Lloyd’s account was incomplete, as it did not mention the hearing she had been due to attend.

David McKie, of Levy & McRae, told the inquiry that Ms Lloyd would have been asked about one of Mr Salmond’s accusers twice meeting Ms Sturgeon’s private secretary, John Somers, shortly before she filed a formal complaint against the former FM.

He wrote: “In the course of the Commission, documents appeared from the Scottish Government which had previously not been produced, despite a Court ordering that they be so. Some of those documents confirmed that one of the complainers had met with the Private Secretary to the First Minister on two occasions in November 2017. 

“On the second occasion, another individual was also present. 

“The identity of the second individual is not known to us. It was Senior Counsel’s intention to ask that question of the Chief of Staff, Liz Lloyd and the Private Secretary, John Somers, when those witnesses came before the Commission”.

In a follow-up email to Ms Lloyd today, inquiry convener Linda Fabiani said: “The Committee received your written submission in October and it did not mention the invitation to give evidence to the Commission and Diligence. 

“The Committee appreciates that the evidence taking session never took place but would appreciate insight from you on the basis for your invitation to attend, including whether you were required to provide any documents to inform your appearance and, if so, what these included. 

READ MORE: Alex Salmond affair: key official apologises for misleading Holyrood inquiry

“The Committee would also appreciate confirmation as to whether you were in attendance at either of the meetings mentioned in the letter from Levy and McRae, in what capacity and whether you met the complainer on the grounds of her ‘causes for concern’ or whether you met her in her civil service capacity.”

Ms Fabiani also asked Ms Lloyd to clarify whether she regularly attended meetings about the judicial review inside the Government in relation to media handling or to represent Ms Sturgeon’s interests, both of which have been offered as explanations to the inquiry.

She asked Ms Lloyd to reply by next Friday, November 6.

Ms Fabiani also wrote to Mr Somers asking him for similar insight into the cancelled Commission hearing revealed by Mr Salmond’s lawyer.