NICOLA Sturgeon has denied wanting to “get” Alex Salmond.

The former First Minister has claimed one of Ms Sturgeon’s special advisers used the phrase in late 2018, when he was taking legal action against the Scottish Government.

There have also been suggestions the Government harassment complaints procedure used to investigate Mr Salmond was been crafted with him in mind.

Asked at the Holyrood inquiry into the Salmond affair if that her been her goal, Ms Sturgeon, she said: “It wasn’t. Absolutely, emphatically not. Alex Salmond has been, and I have said this many times, one of the closest people to me in my entire life.

“I would never have wanted to get Alex Salmond, and I would never, ever have wanted any of this to happen. 

“If I could have, short of brushing complaints under the carpet which would have been wrong to me, if I could turn the clock back and find legitimate ways that none of this would ever have happened, then I would.

“Alex Salmond has been for most of my life, since I was about 20, 21 years old, not just a very close political colleague, a friend, someone in my younger days who I looked up to and revered.

“I had no motive, intention, desire to get Alex Salmond.”

Mr Salmond has also claimed a series of people close to Ms Sturgeon were part of a plot to ruin him and even have him imprisoned.

In her opening statement to the inquiry, Ms Sturgeon characterised that as "absurd".