The Holyrood committee investigating the Government’s botched probe into complaints against Alex Salmond has requested information from one of Nicola Sturgeon ’s top officials.
MSPs have asked John Somers, who is Sturgeon’s private secretary, about meetings he had with one of Salmond’s accusers before a complaint was made.
The committee is investigating how in 2018 the SNP Government handled complaints of sexual misconduct against Salmond when he was First Minister.
Salmond challenged the Government in court and it was agreed the internal probe had been unlawful and tainted by apparent bias.
The bungled investigation, which destroyed the long-standing friendship between Salmond and Sturgeon, cost the public purse over £500,000.
In a letter to the Committee, Salmond’s lawyer David McKie noted that MSPs had asked why Somers was of “relevance” to the judicial review.
A key part of the judicial review was the process of recovering documents known as the “Commission and Diligence”.
McKie wrote: “The answer to that question is that in the course of the Commission, documents appeared from the Scottish Government which had previously not been produced, despite a Court ordering that they be so.
“Some of those documents confirmed that one of the complainers had met with the Private Secretary to the First Minister on two occasions in November 2017.”
The Government confirmed that Somers met twice in November 2017 with one of the complainers.
The Committee has now written directly to Somers.
The letter states: “I would also be grateful if you could confirm whether these meetings took place, the basis for the meeting, and confirmation of whether anyone else was present beyond you and the complainer.
“Please do not include any information on the substance of the concerns or any information that could contribute to the identification of the complainer.
“Finally, I would be grateful if you could also set out your involvement in the development of the procedure, the complaints handling process, the judicial review and the meetings, or arrangements of meetings, that make up the ministerial code phase of the inquiry."