THE Scottish Government has indicated it is preparing to compromise in a row over the legal advice it received during its court battle with Alex Salmond. 

Ministers have so far refused to disclose the advice despite MSPs twice voting in Holyrood to demand it is handed over. 

A cross-party committee of MSPs is examining how the Government botched a probe into sexual misconduct claims levelled against Mr Salmond by two civil servants in 2018.

The former First Minister had the exercise set aside in a judicial review after showing it had been “tainted by apparent bias”, a victory that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

The Holyrood inquiry into the debacle has repeatedly voiced frustration over the obfuscation and delays it has faced. 

It has asked to see the legal advice on which the Government mounted and maintained its doomed defence of the former first minister’s civil action.

But ministers have so far failed to release this, citing legal privilege, despite two Holyrood votes on the issue.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has now indicated the Government is preparing to give ground.

In a letter to the committee, he wrote: "I have discussed this issue with Cabinet colleagues this morning and I am keen to consider with you how we might establish a practical way that enables the committee to have access to the information it seeks.

"Ministers are anxious to avoid creating a precedent that will impact negatively on the future ability of Scottish Government administrations to seek and receive legal advice in confidence consistent with the long-standing principle of legal professional privilege.

"I recognise, given the timescale for the committee to complete its evidence gathering, the need for urgent progress on this matter.

"I would like to propose an initial discussion between officials tomorrow at which the Government will propose mechanisms to establish an appropriate way forward on this matter."

Scottish Labour deputy leader and committee member Jackie Baillie said: “This letter is long overdue but represents a first step in releasing the legal advice to the committee.

“The Scottish Parliament has commanded the SNP government to hand over the legal advice and it’s clear that it has dawned on John Swinney that they can’t ignore the wishes of Parliament.

"It is impossible for the committee to fulfil its function if this vital information is not handed over.

"It is time for the Government to co-operate with the committee to uphold the will of the Parliament.

"The committee’s fight for information has been obstructed at every turn, the Government has maybe now realised that this information must be published.

"I’m glad the Government has understood that it can run, but it cannot hide.”