ALEX Salmond has appeared to cast doubt on Nicola Sturgeon's political shelf-life by dubbing her the "present First Minister".

The dig was included in a letter written by Mr Salmond's lawyer, on his client's direction, to the Holyrood inquiry into his legal fight with the Scottish Government.

Mr Salmond recently accused Ms Sturgeon of repeatedly misleading parliament and breaching the Scottish ministerial code, a potential resignation offence.

The inquiry is investigating into the Scottish Government's botched probe into sexual misconduct claims made against by two civil servants in 2018.

Mr Salmond had the exercise set aside 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 asked Mr Salmond last night to appear before it next week, on Tuesday the 19th.

However the former FM's lawyer today declined on the basis of legal reasons and the Covid pandemic.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond seeks delay in giving bombshell Nicola Sturgeon claims under oath

He wrote: "Our client feels very strongly that it would send a very bad message to the rest of the country if
he were to flout that, particularly at a time when the present First Minister is set to further tighten restrictions on everyone else."

In a previous written submission shared with the Inquiry, Mr Salmond said Ms Sturgeon misled both the Holyrood chamber and the inquiry by wrongly characterising a meeting she had with him at her home in April 2018 as a "party" matter, and the meeting which arranged it.

He said that Ms Sturgeon knew full well that he wanted to discuss the Government probe, and indeed had helped arrange the April meeting four days earlier on that basis.

Her statements to the contrary were therefore untrue and a breach of the ministerial code, he said.

He has asked to delay his oral evidence to  the inquiry, which would be given under oath, untuil February 16.