New hearing twist
Salmond pulls out of inquiry after evidence censored
Alex Salmond was due to give evidence
Alex Salmond has pulled out of the Holyrood inquiry investigating the handling of the harassment case against him after his evidence was censored on the advice of prosecutors.
The former First Minister had been due appear before a committee of MSPs on Wednesday.
A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “Mr Salmond has informed the Committee that he will not be attending tomorrow’s meeting to give evidence.
“The Committee will instead meet in private to discuss the implications of Mr Salmond’s response and the next steps for its work.”
Mr Salmond’s decision came after evidence from Mr Salmond was censored on Crown Office advice. Five of its 33 sections were deleted including an entire 36-page submission from the former First Minister.
In the full written evidence published on Monday evening, Mr Salmond criticised his successor Nicola Sturgeon and the Crown Office – the body responsible for prosecuting crimes in Scotland.
The Crown Office subsequently wrote to parliament to express concerns about the evidence, apparently over a possibility it could amount to contempt of court.
It was decided to pull the evidence from its website on Tuesday afternoon and censor sections before republishing an edited version.
David McKie of Glasgow-based Levy & McRae, representing Mr Salmond, said the parliament action “could have a material bearing on whether he is able to attend tomorrow.”
He said: “We therefore require to see urgently the legal basis for the proposed redactions in order that we can properly advise our client and make further representations.”
The inquiry is looking into the Scottish Government’s handling of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations made against Mr Salmond by civil servants in 2018.
He was later charged with sexual assault but cleared of all counts at a High Court trial last March.
Ms Sturgeon has insisted Mr Salmond would not be able to prove there was any conspiracy against him.