THE Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair has reached an agreement with the Scottish Government over access to previously undisclosed material. 

The cross-party committee of MSPs will see a report containing some of the legal advice the Government relied on in its doomed court battle with the former first minister. 

A redacted version of the 2018 report, from the Government's former Director General for Organisational Development and Operations, will then by published shortly afterwards. 

However the inquiry is still in discussions with the Scottish Government over securing access to the full legal advice in a reading room and waiving legal professional privilege (LPP).

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, the committee convener, said: “The committee has been consistently clear on its position on legal advice. 

"The committee believes that to fulfil the vital task that Parliament has set it, it needs to see legal advice including from counsel. 

"It continues to push to see this advice in full and believes that it has to be published.

“In the meantime, the committee has agreed to accept the terms of an offer negotiated with the Scottish Government to read a report which includes some of the legal advice. 

"A redacted copy of this report will publish after the committee sees the full report on December 22.”

Holyrood has twice voted to demand release of the advice to help the committee do its work.

The inquiry is looking into how the Government botched a 2018 sexual misconduct probe into Mr Salmond.

He had the exercise overturned in a judicial review by showing it was “tainted by apparent bias”, a Government flaw that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

The inquiry has repeatedly 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 in spite of Ms Sturgeon promising parliament in January 2019 that the inquiry could have “whatever material” it requested, her government has refused to hand it over. 

Ms Sturgeon warned it would be a breach of the ministerial code to disclose it without the prior approval of the Government’s law officers.

Under a long-standing convention, legal advice to ministers is secret, but this legal privilege can be waived if it is considered in the public interest.

At a meeting on December 15, the committee agreed a motion stating: "That the committee considers that in order to discharge its duties, it needs to see the legal advice from counsel and associated minutes of meetings relating to the judicial review with LPP waived and that this needs to be published in the interests of transparency; agrees to continue discussions with the Scottish Government including to secure access to this legal advice in a reading room to be provided by 14 January 2021; in the interim accepts the Scottish Government offer to read the former DGODO’s report of 29th December 2018; subject to agreement that notes can be taken to refer to in questioning Scottish Government witnesses and that these witnesses should not refer to legal privilege in answering questions relating to the report; insists that the SG waives LPP over the document so as to enable publication of whatever contents the committee deems fit."