JOHN Swinney has stressed the Alex Salmond inquiry must be allowed to "take its course", following comments from David Davis on concerns about the investigation.

The Conservative MP used parliamentary privilege and claimed messages disclosed by a whistleblower show there was a “concerted effort by senior members of the SNP to encourage complaints” against Mr Salmond.

Mr Davis told the Commons the messages present a case “which demands serious investigation”.

However, Mr Swinney told Good Morning Scotland that the inquiry should be left to "take its course".

He said: “The First Minister spent eight hours of the harassment committee giving comprehensive answers to every question that was put to her and she stands by all of that information.

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We’ve set up the process of inquiry, I think we should let it take its course and come to the conclusions that we need to, as I’ve said we will do, in connection with the reports that arise out of these events.”

He added: “The First Minister gave an open and candid account of the involvement that she’s had and her recollections of this process and obviously we await the outcome of the different inquiries that are looking at these issues.”

A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said: “As with Mr Salmond’s previous claims and cherry-picking of messages, the reality is very different to the picture being presented.

“Every message involving SNP staff has been seen by the committee previously. Their views have been widely reported as dismissive of them.”

As well as the committee’s inquiry, James Hamilton QC is investigating whether Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code.

On Tuesday, a report by Laura Dunlop QC called for complaints against current and former Government ministers to be investigated independently, rather than by the Scottish Government.

Mr Swinney said: “We will take forward the report of Laura Dunlop, we obviously have got other reports we’re waiting for from James Hamilton QC and also from the parliamentary committee that’s looking at these issues.

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“We expect the parliamentary report very shortly and the James Hamilton report should be with us hopefully very shortly as well. We will group all of those together and make sure we take swift action, we committed ourselves yesterday to taking forward these proposals through a series of actions in June.

“Once we’ve seen all of the different reports that will give us the opportunity to make sure that the mistakes that were made in the handling of these complaints by the Scottish Government are never repeated should a similar situation arise in the future.”