NICOLA Sturgeon is looking forward to putting to rest "some of the absolute nonsense that has been circulating" about the Alex Salmond affair, her deputy has insisted. 

John Swinney said the public know the First Minister "to be an honest and candid individual who sets out the position as it is". 

It comes after Mr Salmond accused Ms 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.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond accuses Nicola Sturgeon of giving 'untrue' evidence to Holyrood inquiry

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.

Mr Salmond said he was prepared to repeat his claims, which have so far been made in writing and shared with the Holyrood inquiry, in person under oath. 

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 Swinney, Scotland's Deputy First Minister, was asked about the extraordinary row during an interview on the BBC's Politics Scotland.

He said: "The First Minister has rejected the suggestions and points put forward by Alex Salmond in his evidence. 

"I think the public know the First Minister to be an honest and candid individual who sets out the position as it is. 

"She's already made a submission to the parliamentary inquiry and to the ministerial code inquiry on all of these questions, and the First Minister will set out her evidence clearly, openly and transparently as she does on a daily basis on all issues Covid, which of course are the issues that are absolutely preoccupying the mind of the First Minister at the present moment."

Asked if the First Minister would have to resign if she was found to have broken the ministerial code, Mr Swinney said: "The First Minister will set out clearly and openly and transparently all that she's got to say on this issue and I'm very confident in the points the First Minister will put across.

"The First Minister looks forward to the opportunity to set out in detail all of the views and perspectives that she has on this issue to put to rest some of the absolute nonsense that has been circulating about this particular issue.

"We've got to remember that we faced a very difficult situation of having to investigate complaints about inappropriate behaviour, a lot of which have now been conceded by Alex Salmond in court, and that issue had to be addressed. 

"An incredibly difficult situation, and the First Minister will set out exactly her perspective when it comes to all of the relevant inquiries on this issue."

A Holyrood 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 set 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.

He was later cleared of multiple charges of sexual assault at the High Court in Edinburgh. 

The former first minister has now submitted evidence to James Hamilton, the independent adviser on the Scottish ministerial code. 

This has been shared with MSPs on the Holyrood inquiry committee.

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

Mr Salmond and opposition politicians have said the remit of his probe should be widened to better assess events.

Asked if this should happen, Mr Swinney said he was "really surprised by this line of argument from Alex Salmond and the Scottish Conservatives, because it appears that they are not keeping up with events". 

He said he had previously made clear Mr Hamilton's inquiry can look at any aspect of a potential breach of the ministerial code.

He added: "So what is being demanded by Alex Salmond and the Scottish Conservatives was put in place by me in a parliamentary answer in November, so I have absolutely no idea why on earth they are going on about it today."