ALEX Salmond will give bombshell evidence under oath about Nicola Sturgeon to a Holyrood inquiry, it has been confirmed, after doubts he might never appear.

The cross-party committee today agreed to extend its own deadline and hear the former First Minister testify on Tuesday, February 9.

The decision means Ms Sturgeon now faces the most perilous moment of her premiership. 

In a written submission, Mr Salmond has already accused his successor of repeatedly misleading the inquiry and the parliament, which would be a breach of the ministerial code.

If proved, Ms Sturgeon would be expected to offer her resignation as First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon has vehemently denied misleading parliament and has accused her former mentor of spreading conspiracy theories to distract from his own shortcomings.

She is expected to give her oral evidence the week after Mr Salmond, on February 16th.

With MSPs having to finish their work before the Holyrood election campaign, Mr Salmond was last week told February 4 was the absolute cut-off for him to present his oral evidence.

However on Tuesday his lawyer rejected the date and said Mr Salmond was free to appear on any day the following week.

READ MORE: Poll - Two-thirds say Nicola Sturgeon should quit if she misled Holyrood over Salmond affair

After almost six months of witness sessions beset by delays and frustrations over evidence, the inquiry today decided to accept rather than lose Mr Salmond as a witness. 

It is understood SNP members on the committee were keen to stick to the original deadline, and so exclude Mr Salmond.

However the opposition majority took the “pragmatic” decision to wait another few days.

In a letter to Mr Salmond, inquiry convener Linda Fabiani said: "The Committee remains very concerned about the tight timescale we are working to in order to complete our work before the end of the session.

"However, given that the Committee is also awaiting the response to the section 24 notice [demanding documents] served on the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, we have agreed to accept your offer to attend the following week.

"The only date that we can offer is Tuesday 9 February and should that not be possible, I am afraid that no further dates can be offered.

"The clerks to the committee will be in touch to discuss the detailed timings and other arrangements for your attendance, including how to ensure that you can attend safely and in line with Covid restrictions.

"It would be helpful to have an indication as soon as possible as to whether you prefer to attend in person at the Scottish Parliament or via a remote video link with the Committee meeting in person at the Parliament.

"I would be grateful for a response by close tomorrow so that we can put the arrangements in place."

The inquiry is looking at the Scottish Government’s mishandling of into complaints of sexual misconduct made against Mr Salmond in 2018 by two female civil servants.

The former First Minister had the exercise set aside in a judicial review, showing it had been “tainted by apparent bias”, leaving taxpayers with a £500,000 bill for his legal costs.

He was later charged with sexual assault but cleared on all counts at a trial last March.

Meanwhile Ms Sturgeon’s husband is understood to be consulting lawyers after being accused of potentially committing a crime at the inquiry.

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell was recently recalled by the inquiry after his testimony under oath last month was criticised for multiple contradictions. 

He was offered a choice of dates, and initially indicated he would attend on February 2. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon's husband may not return to Alex Salmond inquiry after 'perjury' row

However, he is now understood to be reluctant to give fresh evidence after Labour asked the Crown Office to investigate whether he had “perjured himself” in his first appearance.

In particular, the Crown was asked to probe whether Mr Murrell has falsely denied the existence of potentially embarrassing text and WhatsApp messages relating to Mr Salmond.

Wilfully making a false statement under oath is punishable by up to five years in jail.

Mr Murrell’s lawyers are now in talks with inquiry clerks about whether he will appear. 

The Inquiry last week asked the Crown Office to release text and WhatsApp messages involving Mr Murrell’s de facto deputy at the SNP, chief operating officer Sue Ruddick, which had been supplied to Mr Salmond’s defence team for the trial.