NICOLA Sturgeon's husband is to appear before the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair next week.

Peter Murrell, the chief executive of the SNP, will give oral evidence to MSPs on Tuesday, an agenda released this evening by the Scottish Parliament has confirmed. 

Tuesday will be the tenth witness session of the inquiry, which is looking at how the Scottish Government botched a probe into sexual misconduct claims levelled against Mr Salmond in 2018.

Mr Salmond had it set aside in a judicial review, showing it had been “tainted by apparent bias” from the start, a flaw that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

Mr Murrell has already given two lots of written evidence to the inquiry, the second after MSPs found his first submission unsatisfactory.

The SNP has also engaged one of Scotland's biggets law firms, Shepperd and Wedderburn, to represent it.

Mr Murrell potentially faces questions about controversial messages he sent backing police and prosecution action against the former first minister, and which he discussed in previous written evidence.

He is also likely to be asked about Mr Salmond telling Ms Sturgeon at the couple's home that he was under investigation by her officials - a disclosure Mr Murrell insists his wife never mentioned to him at the time.

He said in written evidence in August: “I knew about the meetings between Nicola and Alex Salmond at our home on 2 April and 14 July 2018 and I had the sense that something serious was being discussed. 

“Nicola told me she couldn’t discuss the details.

"The nature of Nicola’s job means that when she tells me she can’t discuss something, I don’t press it.

“I was not present at these meetings and made no contribution to them.”

Mr Murrell may also to be asked to clear up confusion over the nature of that meeting, after Ms Sturgeon told MSPs it had been taken in her capacity as SNP leader, but Mr Murrell suggested she hadn't told him the content of it, despite its significance for the party he oversees, because it was a government matter.

He may also be asked about Ms Sturgeon's recent admission that she first learned of sexual misconduct claims against Mr Salmond by civil servants in March 2018, four days before Mr Salmond told her himself at her home.

Ms Sturgeon has claimed she forgot about the first time she heard the news - from Mr Salmond's former chief of staff Geoff Aberdein in her Holyrood office - as she was having a busy day at Holyrood.

Opposition parties have said they don't believe her.

Mr Murrell may also be asked about the use of SNP email accounts for ministerial business, potentially blurring the line between party and Government.

Mr Murrell's text messages are cited by Mr Salmond's supporters as evidence of a high-level plot to stop him making a political comeback and rivalling his successor.

Senior figures in the SNP have called on Mr Murrell to resign over the messages, which he sent the day after Mr Salmond was charged with sexual assault in January 2019.

They were subsequently leaked to SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who then forwarded them to the inquiry.

The first said: "Totally agree folk should be asking the police questions… report now with the PF [procurator fiscal] on charges which leaves police twiddling their thumbs. 

“So good time to be pressurising them. Would be good to know Met looking at events in London.”

The second said: "TBH [to be honest] the more fronts he is having to firefight on the better for all complainers. 

“So CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] action would be a good thing.”

Mr Murrell has blamed "shock, hurt and upset" for  expressing himself poorly.

He wrote in October to the inquiry: "I acknowledge that I did not express myself well but I suggest that in the context of such a criminal case, directing people to the Police was the only responsible thing to advise.” 

He added: "In relation to the second message... my intended meaning was that any and all complaints should be appropriately investigated. 

“The tone of it is a reflection of the shock, hurt and upset that I, and so many others in the SNP, felt that day given the events that had unfolded in court the previous day. 

“As most people will appreciate, the immediacy of text messages lend themselves to informal, shorthand forms of expression but, even so, I would wish on reflection to have expressed myself more appropriately.”

Mr Murrell's appearance comes as the Scottish Government is being urged to release the legal advice on which it mounted and maintained its doomed defence of Mr Salmond's civil action.

Shortly after he won the judicial review, Mr Salmond was charged with sexual assault leading to a criminal trial in March this year at which he was acquitted on all counts.