JACK McConnell admitted to his cabinet that he had been questioned by the police in the cash-for-peerages investigation - but only after it was reported in the press. 

The Labour First Ministe told his colleagues on 24 January 2007, according to minutes of the meeting released by the National Records of Scotland.

However he did so the day after the Herald first reported the interview, and more than a month after the event itself.

Mr McConnell was quizzed by the Metropolitan Police in the office of a Labour party lawyer in London on 15 December 2006 as a witness rather than under caution.

He was reported to have been “annoyed” by the 15 minute interview, as it had focused on his sole nomination to the Lords, that of his Lord Advocate Colin Boyd.

Mr Boyd was nominated for a peerage in 2004, but this was delayed by the 2005 general election, and he was awarded it in 2006 - which was the year being checked by detectives.

The cash for honours inquiry was started by a complaint from the SNP MP ANgus MacNeil in 2006 in response to a Labour donor being nominated for the Lords under Tony Blair.

Although no charges were brought, it damaged Labour’s reputation at Westminster, and was particularly awkward for the Scottish party going into the 2007 Holyrood election.

Under “Metropolitan Police Investigation”, the cabinet minutes record: “The First Minister said that he had been interviewed in December by the Metropolitan Police in connection with their ongoing investigation into alleged links between the honours system and Labour Party funding. 

“This had occurred because the processing of his nomination to the peerage of the former Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd QC, had been significantly delayed, and as a result had been announced at the same time a, the Party nominations which were now the subject of the investigation. 

“The First Minister said that he had been able to confirm to the police that he had no knowledge of anyone else on that list, nor of any related Party funding arrangements.”