Alex Salmond is launching a £3m legal action against the Scottish Government over the botched investigation of sexual misconduct claims against him.

The former First Minister is understood to have lodged a petition at the Court of Session alleging “misfeasance” by various past and present civil servants.

A hearing relating to the civil action took place before Lord Fairley yesterday and the action is expected to be called - publicly confirmed - as soon as this afternoon.

The Court confirmed the case is known as Alex Salmond v Scottish Ministers.

It is understood Mr Salmond, who was first minister from 2007 to 2014 and is now leader of the Alba party, is seeking damages and loss of earnings in the region of £3m.

The case has its origins in the Scottish Government’s flawed in-house investigation into Mr Salmond in 2018 after two female workers complained about his behaviour.

Mr Salmond challenged the Government’s probe in a judicial review action at the Court of Session, and proved it had been unlawful, unfair and “tainted by apparent bias”.

It emerged the investigating officer had been in prior contact with his accusers, contaminating her entire investigation. 

SNP ministers subsequently had to pay Mr Salmond £512,000 in legal costs.

He was particularly critical at the time of the Government’s then most senior civil servant, the permanent secretary Leslie Evans, who has since retired and set up a consultancy.

The Herald:

In 2020, Mr Salmond was cleared by a jury of 14 counts of sexual assault after a two week trail at the High Court in Edinburgh.

After the trial, a special Holyrood committee was created to look into the Government’s flawed handling of the misconduct claims made against him by the original two officials.

When he gave evidence to MSPs, Mr Salmond said a group of people close to his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, had plotted against him and ought to lose their jobs.

He also claimed Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code - considered a resignation offence - by misleading parliament over contacts and conversations during the investigation.

He said the harassment procedure under which he had been investigated had been rushed and unlawful from the start, and heaped blame on Ms Evans as its architect and overseer.

Material belatedly released to the Holyrood inquiry after the Government tried to block it showed outside lawyers warned the judicial review defence was in disarray.

External counsel said they were ready to withdraw after a multitude of blunders by the Government, including a failure in its “duty of candour” to a court and its top official failing to provide a witness statement, brought the case “perilously close” to collapse.

The Herald:

In March 2021, Mr Salmond issued a public statement in which he said he would start a legal action, saying those he blamed for his mistreatment had refused to accept responsibility.

He said at the time: “The waste of public resources has continued to grow as has the impact on all the people concerned. This cannot stand. 

“I have therefore taken legal advice and will shortly be instructing my lawyers to bring proceedings in the Court of Session arising as a direct result of the conduct of the Permanent Secretary. I hope it is the only legal action that I am required to take.”

Although that was 30 months ago, it is only now that the case is being called.

Mr Salmond also said he would ask the police to investigate how the Daily Record was tipped off about the Government investigation before it became public knowledge.

After the Record revealed the matter, Mr Salmond resigned from the SNP and subsequently had a bitter falling out with Ms Sturgeon.

Misfeasance in public office occurs when a public officer knowingly misuses or abuses their power or authority and willingly acts to cause harm to an individual or group.

It is understood Mr Salmond may choose to sist, or pause, his case to give him more time to prepare for a full hearing against the Government.

Mr Salmond and his solicitor were contacted but did not respond.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on live litigation.”