HOLYROOD bosses have censored evidence submitted by Alex Salmond to a Holyrood inquiry after an intervention by prosecutors, deleting five of its 33 sections.

It followed a 36-page submission from the former First Minister being removed in its entirety from the parliament's website "with immediate effect" this morning.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body held an emergency meeting after the Crown Office asked it to remove or redact material published last night.

The Crown Office raised "grave concerns" there could have been a breach of a court order related to Mr Salmond’s criminal trial last year. However that would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide. 

In response, the SPCB agreed to redact parts of Mr Salmond's evidence and republish it in a revised form to avoid any possible breach of a court order.

It has now reissued the material with five sections spanning six paragraphs removed and replaced with purple lines and the word "redacted".

Controversially, one of the paragraphs deleted is wholly unrelated to Mr Salmond's criminal trial, and alleges Ms Sturgeon breached the Scottish ministerial code by making an "untrue" statement to Holyrood in 2019.

Other claims to the same effect remain untouched.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “Following representations from the Crown Office on Monday evening, the SPCB agreed collectively this morning that it will remove the Alex Salmond submission on the Ministerial Code from its website with immediate effect and republish it later today in a redacted form. 

"The SPCB will respond formally to the Crown Office shortly.”

The SPCB decided last week that the Holyrood inquiry into the Salmond affair could publish a revised submission from Mr Salmond in which he accuses Nicola Sturgeon of repeatedly misleading parliament and so breaking the ministerial code - a resignatiion offence she denies.

The inquiry published the material last night alongside another submission from Mr Salmond in which he claimed senior SNP figures, including Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, plotted to ruin and even jail him.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond claims Nicola Sturgeon's husband part of plot to 'imprison me'

The former First Minister also criticised the Crown Office, saying it was withholding key material from the inquiry which would corroborate his claims.

He criticised the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, and said the Crown Office under his leadership was “simply not fit for purpose”.

He also said Mr Wolffe was "manifestly conflicted" in his dual role as both the head of Scotland's prosecution service and the Scottish Government's top legal adviser.

Mr Salmond is due to give evidence under oath in person to the inquiry tomorrow.

He had made publication of his evidence a pre-condition of his testimony, as it ensured his claims could be included in the inquiry's final report and used as the basis for questioning witnesses.

The last-minute change could put his appearance in doubt, however sources believe he will still be able to speak on a range of issues even after some redactions.

Ms Sturgeon has rejected claims of a "concerted effort" against Mr Salmond, and challenged him to produce hard evidence to back up his alllegations.

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

He had the exercise overturned in a judicial review in January 2019, showing it had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon claims lie row meeting 'never held any significance in my head' 

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

The Government’s mistakes left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his legal costs.

The SPCB is chaired by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and includes one MSP from each of Holyrood's five parties.

The Crown Office says that in all cases where it becomes aware of issues of potential contempt, these will be considered carefully and action will be taken if considered appropriate.

It had no comment on the specifics or Mr Salmond's evidence to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Salmond has been asked for comment.

Meanwhile, the union representing senior civil servants has criticised the inquiry for treating civil servants with “almost open hostility”.

FDA general secretary Dave Penman said MSPs on the cross-party committee had made “derogatory comments” about officials and deliberately twisted some of their oral evidence. 

READ MORE: SNP expert - Divided party needs time in opposition 'to sort itself out'

Inquiry members - like Mr Salmond - have frequently criticised evidence from the Scottish Government’s most senior official, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans.

Ms Evans has been recalled several times and been forced to clarify errors in her testimony.

Mr Penman told the Scotsman: “From the outset, members of the Holyrood committee have operated with almost open hostility towards civil servants, including an initial attempt to seek evidence in a way that could have caused them to breach the Civil Service Code.

“They chose to operate in a quasi-judicial manner, requiring evidence under oath, yet the obligations this brings appear only to apply to witnesses and not to the committee itself.

"Committee members have made points or personal remarks during questioning, including deliberately misquoting a response on official record made by one witness when questioning another.

“They have been happy to make public comment, as well as retweeting press articles that make derogatory comments about civil servants and their evidence.

"Is it any wonder that this leads to a perception that some of the committee members reached a conclusion long before the process was concluded?”

READ MORE: Alex Salmond inquiry - Nicola Sturgeon told 'buck stops with her' not fall-guys

The Scottish Tories, who have two MSPs on the inquiry, said they had acted with “courtesy and professionalism” while being “routinely obstructed”.

Mr Penman’s comments sounded “like an attempt to distract from these serious issues”.