THE Scottish Conservatives have threatened to take the SNP Government to court if it fails to release its legal advice in its botched courtroom battle with Alex Salmond.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories, insisted Holyrood's Salmond inquiry is being "obstructed and blocked from doing its job". 

Earlier this month, opposition MSPs backed a Tory motion calling on the Government to release the legal advice it received for Mr Salmond’s court challenge in 2018.

Former SNP minister Alex Neil abstained in the vote and said afterwards: “The Government is going to have to release this legal advice. 

"In my view the founding principles of the Parliament are openness, transparency and accountability. 

"In this instance, the logic of that is this legal advice has to be given to the committee.”

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, the Salmond inquiry committee convener, has repeatedly voiced frustration at the delays and obfuscation it has faced. 

The Scottish Government said it is giving "detailed consideration" to releasing the legal advice on which it decided to defend the civil action.

The Tories plan to bring a fresh vote on the issue to Holyrood this week as opposition figures seek to ramp up the pressure.

Mr Ross said: “I have instructed the party to start preparations for launching legal action if the Government refuses to listen to the Scottish Parliament and release these key documents.

“They have already ignored one vote in the Scottish Parliament. 

"If they ignore a second vote this week, the Scottish Conservatives as the lead opposition party will seek to deliver what MSPs across the Scottish Parliament have demanded.

“The committee is being obstructed and blocked from doing its job. 

"The First Minister’s promises to 'co-operate fully' have been broken.

“If the Government continues to abuse its power to shut down scrutiny, the Scottish Conservatives will look to force their hand so we can find out how more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money was lost.”

A cross-party group of MSPs is looking into how the Scottish Government botched a sexual misconduct probe into claims made against Mr Salmond in 2018.

The former first minister had the exercise set aside through a judicial review, showing it had been unlawful, unfair and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The Government’s mistake - to appoint an investigating officer who was in prior contact with his accusers - left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

Mr Salmond was cleared of multiple sexual assault charges at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier this year.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government is taking unprecedented steps to provide the committee with the information it has requested in line with data protection, confidentiality and legal restrictions – and it is completely incorrect to suggest otherwise.

“The Deputy First Minister has clearly set out the detailed consideration that the Government is giving to the issue of whether legal advice can be revealed and also the extensive steps that are being taken to secure the release of further documentation.”