ALEX Salmond has accused Nicola Sturgeon of misleading the Holyrood inquiry into her government's treatment of him, calling her evidence “simply untrue” and "untenable".

He said she had also misled parliament by feigning ignorance of explosive events, giving MSPs a picture that was "false and manifestly untrue". 

The former First Minister claimed his successor had thus broken the Scottish ministerial code, which if correct would be regarded at parliament as a resignation matter.

He said he was prepared to repeat his claims, which have so far been made in writing, in person under oath. 

The Scottish Tories said the allegations pointed to “shocking, deliberate and corrupt actions at the heart of government”.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford says Nicola Sturgeon ‘acted honourably’ as Alex Salmond claims she breached code

Ms Sturgeon's office said she entirely rejected the claims about the code and accused Mr Salmond of "spinning false conspiracy theories" and trying to divert attention away from the misconduct complaints made against him. 

Mr Salmond said Ms Sturgeon's chief of staff knew of a Government sexual misconduct probe into him a fortnight before Ms Sturgeon claims to have learned about it.

Mr Salmond also said Ms Sturgeon had invited him to her Glasgow home on April 2, 2018 expressly to discuss the Government probe despite her telling parliament that she had believed it was to be a "party" matter.

He said Holyrood had been "repeatedly misled" about the nature of the meeting.

He said: "The First Minister’s claim that it was ever thought to be about anything other than the complaints made against me is wholly false.

"The repeated representation to the Parliament of the meeting on the 2nd April 2018 as being a ‘party’ meeting because it proceeded in ignorance of the complaints is false and manifestly untrue." 

Mr Salmond also claims Ms Sturgeon had offered to intervene in the Government's complaints process, something she has always vehemently denied.

He said: "The First Minister’s position on this is simply untrue. She did initially offer to intervene, in the presence of all those at the First Minister's house on the 2nd April 2018.

"Moreover, she did engage in following the process of the
complaint and indeed reported the status of that process to me personally."

In a December 30 submission shared with the inquiry, Mr Salmond said the breaches including failing to inform the civil service of his meetings with her, and allowing the Scottish Government to battle him in court despite legal advice that its case was likely to collapse.

The inquiry is looking into how the Scottish Government botched its probe into sexual misconduct allegations made against Mr Salmond in 2018.

Mr Salmond had the exercise seat aside in a judicial review by showing it was flawed from the start and “tainted by apparent bias”, a Government error that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his legal costs.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill says Nicola Sturgeon’s husband on way out as party’s top official

Mr Salmond’s seven-page submission was not made directly to the Holyrood inquiry, but to James Hamilton, the independent adviser on the Scottish ministerial code, and then shared with MSPs.

Mr Hamilton, a former Irish prosecutor, is investigating whether Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code.

After the Scottish Government’s defence of the judicial collapsed collapsed in January 2019, the First Minister revealed she had three meetings and two phone calls with her predecessor while he was being investigated by her own officials in spring and summer 2018.

Opposition parties claim Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by failing to report these meetings fully and timeously to the relevant officials.

Although the first meeting was on 2 April, 2018, the First Minister did not tell her top official, the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, about the encounter until the eve of the SNP conference on 7 June, 2018, as she had arranged to meet Mr Salmond a second time.

This was in spite of Mr Salmond telling Ms Sturgeon on 2 April that he was being investigated by her government over alleged sexual misconduct - something Ms Sturgeon was not supposed to know - and that he wanted the matter settled by arbitration.

Ms Sturgeon also told Holyrood she met Mr Salmond in her capacity as SNP leader, despite it being clear from the first meeting that he wanted to discuss the government probe.

Last month, Ms Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, said his wife hadn’t told him about her conversation with Mr Salmond at their home because it was government-related rather than a party matter.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond inquiry - Nicola Sturgeon 'sunk' by husband's evidence, claim Tories

In his new submission, Mr Salmond said the April 2 visit had been arranged four days earlier at a meeting between Ms Sturgeon, her chief of staff and Mr Salmond's former chief of staff at the First Minister's Holyrood office, a meeting Ms Sturgeon later told the inquiry she had forgotten about.

Mr Salmond said: "This [preliminary] meeting was for the purpose of discussing the complaints and thereafter arranging a direct meeting between myself and the First Minister.

"There was never the slightest doubt what the meeting was about. Any suggestion by the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament that the meeting was ‘fleeting or opportunistic’ is simply untrue.

"It was agreed on the 29th March 2018 at the meeting in the Scottish Parliament attended by... the First Minister and another individual that the meeting between myself and the First Minister would take place on 2nd April at her home near Glasgow.

"Self-evidently only the First Minister could issue that invitation to her private home."

He added: "Most seriously, Parliament has been repeatedly misled on a number of occasions about the nature of the meeting of 2nd April 2018.

"The First Minister told Parliament (see Official Report of 8th,10th & 17th January 2019) that she first learned of the complaints against me when I visited her home on 2nd April 2018. That is untrue and is a breach of the Ministerial

"The evidence from [Mr Salmond's former chief of staff Geoff Aberdein] that he personally discussed the existence of the complaints, and summarised the substance of the complaints, with the First Minister in a pre-arranged meeting in Parliament on 29th March 2018 arranged
for that specific purpose cannot be reconciled with the position of the First Minister to Parliament.

"The fact that Mr Aberdein learned of these complaints in
early March 2018 from the Chief of Staff to the First Minister who thereafter arranged for the meeting between Mr Aberdein and the First Minister on 29th March to discuss them, is supported by his sharing that information contemporaneously with myself, Kevin Pringle and Duncan Hamilton, Advocate.

"In her written submission to the Committee, the First Minister has subsequently admitted to that meeting on 29th March 2018, claiming to have previously ‘forgotten’ about it.

"That is, with respect, untenable.

"The pre-arranged meeting in the Scottish Parliament of 29th March 2018 was “forgotten” about because acknowledging it would have rendered ridiculous the claim made by the First Minister in Parliament that it had been believed that the meeting on 2nd April was on SNP Party business (Official Report 8th & 10th January 2019) and
thus held at her private residence.

"In reality all participants in that meeting were fully aware of what the meeting was about and why it had been arranged.

"The meeting took place with a shared understanding of the issues for discussion - the complaints made and the Scottish Government procedure which had been launched.

"The First Minister’s claim that it was ever thought to be about anything other than the complaints made against me is wholly false. 

"The failure to account for the meeting on 29th March 2018 when making a statement to Parliament, and thereafter failing to correct that false representation is a further breach of the Ministerial Code."

Last October, Mr Salmond asked Mr Hamilton to widen his investigation beyond the narrow “straw man” remit set by Ms Sturgeon’s deputy, John Swinney, to assess her veracity.

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Hamilton was free to explore whatever parts of the code he chose.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Alex Salmond, the very person who knows exactly what Nicola Sturgeon did behind the scenes and precisely what happened in their meetings, has now said she ‘misled’ the Scottish Parliament and ‘broke’ the Ministerial Code.

 “There are witnesses and there appears to be a mountain of evidence that confirms Nicola Sturgeon knew of the allegations before she claimed to find out.

 “Nobody ever bought Nicola Sturgeon’s tall tales to have suddenly turned forgetful, especially about the devastating moment she found out of sexual harassment allegations against her friend and mentor of 30 years.

“What has been revealed are allegations of shocking, deliberate and corrupt actions at the heart of government. There is now clear evidence of Nicola Sturgeon abusing her power to deceive the Scottish public.

“If this proves to be correct, it is a resignation matter. 

“No First Minister, at any time, can be allowed to get away with repeatedly and blatantly lying to the Scottish Parliament and breaking the Ministerial Code.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader and Committee member Jackie Baillie said: “Alex Salmond’s explosive allegations demand answers from the First Minister to the Committee.

“The bombshell accusation that Nicola Sturgeon has broken the Ministerial Code has the potential to end her political career and demands a robust and honest answer from the First Minister.

“This Committee demands truthfulness and honesty from every witness it calls – it is vital that the First Minister tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when she appears before the Committee.”

A spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon said: “The First Minister entirely rejects Mr Salmond’s claims about the Ministerial Code.

“We should always remember that the roots of this issue lie in complaints made by women about Alex Salmond’s behaviour whilst he was First Minister, aspects of which he has conceded.

"It is not surprising therefore that he continues to try to divert focus from that by seeking to malign the reputation of the First Minister and by spinning false conspiracy theories. 

“The First Minister is concentrating on fighting the pandemic, stands by what she has said, and will address these matters in full when she appears at committee in the coming weeks.” 

Mr Salmond said: "“I can confirm that I submitted evidence to Mr James Hamilton, the Independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code, at his repeated request at the end of last year.

"The same evidence has now been given to the Parliamentary Committee, at their request, to assist with phase 4 of their Inquiry into the actions of Ministers and civil servants.

"It is a matter for Mr Hamilton and Committee members what they do with my evidence but I stand by the contents of the document and I am prepared to do so under oath in front of the Committee.”