NICOLA Sturgeon has spoken of her relief after she was cleared of breaking the Scottish Ministerial Code by an independent adviser.

The First Minister said she was "delighted and of course relieved" by the conclusions of former Irish prosecutor James Hamilton.

She said some "pretty grim allegations" had been levelled at her in recent months.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon cleared of breaking ministerial code over Alex Salmond affair

But the Scottish Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon is "not free and clear", while the Liberal Democrats also insisted the report did not give her a "clean bill of health".

Asked about her immediate reaction when she saw the conclusions of the report, Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: "Well, obviously relieved – some pretty grim allegations have been levelled at me over the past months.

"They've not been easy. They've been difficult to contend with. I have been at peace with my own conscience on all of these matters. I have been very clear in my own mind that I acted appropriately and did not breach the ministerial code.

"But that – while that might be necessary, is not sufficient.

"It is important to the Scottish people that they have independent verification and adjudication of that - and that, of course, is what they now have."

Asked if she has lived up to the spirit as well as the letter of the code, Ms Sturgeon said: "Yes, I believe I have, but more importantly so does somebody whose independence is beyond doubt.

"James Hamilton has looked at all of the allegations that were made about me in respect of the ministerial code, and on each and every one of them has considered that I did not breach the ministerial code."

The First Minister said she had acted appropriately "in a difficult situation".

She added: "I said I would accept the outcome of Mr Hamilton's inquiry, and I think it is now incumbent on others to accept the outcome of it as well."

Mr Hamilton said it was up to the Scottish Parliament to decide whether it was misled by Ms Sturgeon over her account of meetings with Mr Salmond.

Leaks suggest a Holyrood inquiry will tomorrow find the First Minister did mislead it, and therefore misled parliament.

Asked about this, Ms Sturgeon said: "James Hamilton was given the task of determining whether or not I breached the ministerial code, and he's decided that I did not breach the ministerial code, and one of the allegations that he has reached that conclusion on was whether or not I misled parliament."

She added: "I look forward – if that's the right expression – to the committee's report being published tomorrow. We will look at that in great detail.

"But I cannot escape the conclusion that there are some members of that committee – because their public utterances show this – who decided before a single word of evidence had been taken that I was guilty of something, and nothing was going to remove them from that view."

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government made a mistake in the handling of complaints about Mr Salmond, and the two initial complainers were let down as a result.

Elsewhere, she said there is "absolutely no evidence whatsoever" that the original leak of the investigation into the former first minister came from her Government.

She added: "That was not a leak from me. To the very best of my knowledge, it was not a leak from anybody around me."

She said she would "love to know" where the leak came from.

However, pressed on whether the police should investigate, Ms Sturgeon said that is a matter for them.

Meanwhile, the First Minister expressed confidence she will survive a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, which has been brought forward by the Scottish Tories.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: "This entire saga should have been about examining a process that let down women and ensuring that was never repeated. In their ridiculous attempts to pursue a political scalp the Tories have completely ignored that fact."

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “At the heart of this are two women who have been badly let down by the government, and it remains the case that nobody has taken responsibility."

Mr Salmond, who was cleared of sexual assault charges last year, is expected to make a statement in the coming days.