HOLYROOD managers have delayed a decision on whether to publish evidence from Alex Salmond in which he accuses Nicola Sturgeon of misleading parliament. 

The cross-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) met this morning after being asked to give a definitive ruling on the issue by the Holyrood inquiry into the Salmond affair.

A decision had been expected this lunchtime.

However the SPCB decided it needed more time to digest material from the inquiry.

The six-person group, which is chaired by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, will now reconvene in the afternoon.

However the meeting will have to be juggled with Mr Macintosh chairing the parliament, and it is unclear if any final decision will me made today.

The hold-up is yet another twist in the saga about a written submission Mr Salmond made which the inquiry refused to publish in case it breached court orders, data or privacy laws.

The inquiry is looking at how the Scottish Government botched a probe into sexual misconduct claims made against Mr Salmond by civil servants in 2018.

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

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

Mr Salmond made the submission to the independent adviser into the Scottish Ministerial Code last month and also sent it to the inquiry.

In it, the former First Minister accused his successor of repeatedly misleading Holyrood about meetings they had about the probe in 2018, and so broke the ministerial code - a resignation offence Ms Sturgeon denies.

Mr Salmond said he would not give evidence under oath in person unless the material was published by the inquiry, so that it could be included in its final report.

However the committee last week refused to publish the material in case it breached court orders, data or privacy laws.

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The Spectator magazine then went to court to seek a variation to an order made by judge Lady Dorrian during Mr Salmond’s trial in order to allow publication in a redacted form.

After Lady Dorrian clarified her order with a written ruling on Tuesday, the inquiry had been expected to agree to publication of the material, as it was now in the public domain.

However, in a 5-4 vote on Wednesdsay, MSPs again refused to allow publication and then voted 6-3 to refer the issue up to the SPCB as the final authority on whether publication would be legal.

The SPCB contains a member of each party at Holyrood - Tory Jackson Carlaw, Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur, Labour's David Stewart, the SNP's Sandra White, and Green Andy Wightman, who is also on the inquiry.

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond’s lawyers have now submitted a revised version of his evidence to the inquiry in order to put the legality of publication “beyond doubt”.

The inquiry has yet to see this material, but early indications suggest it will be published by the parliament, helping to pave the way for Mr Salmond to testify under oath in person.

It means that, even if the SPCB decides not to publish the first version of his submission, this could prove irrelevant if the second version is published.

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The inquiry has invited Mr Salmond to testify on Wednesday, February 24.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The SPCB will reconvene this afternoon once Members have had the opportunity to consider more fully the substantial material submitted to it by the SGHHC [Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.”