'Mr Salmond is not on trial' Holyrood probe erupts as convener slaps down MSP

During the inquiry, Alex Cole-Hamilton asked the former SNP leader to apologise. The convener, Linda Fabiani, interrupted the Liberal Democrats and reminded him that Mr Salmond was not on trial during the inquiry.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “You talked in quite striking terms about the injury done to you by this whole process, this whole experience but you made no mention of the considerable stress and misery caused to certain women at the heart of this.

“I wanted to ask laying aside the charges you have been acquitted and the allegations you deny, of the behaviours you have admitted to, some of which are appalling, are you sorry?”

Mr Salmond replied: “Firstly in my statement, I pointed out that the Government’s illegality has had huge consequences for a number of people and specifically mentioned the complainants in my opening statement.

“Over the last three years, there have been two court cases, two judges and a jury and I am resting on the proceedings of these cases.”

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The Liberal Democrat MSP said: “I think the nation would like to hear those words but I will move on.”

The convener interjected: “Mr Cole-Hamilton can I just say Mr Salmond is not here on trial by this committee so please be much more general in your comment.”

On Friday morning, political commentator Iain Dale warned that the Alex Salmond inquiry could be Nicola Sturgeon’s downfall if it is proven that she broke the ministerial code of conduct.

Mr Dale told Good Morning Britain that if Alex Salmond can prove that Nicola Sturgeon lied, she will be under pressure to resign from her position as Scotland’s First Minister.

“And if you break the ministerial code you are under pressure to resign.”

Mr Salmond was accused of sexual harassment and was subject to a Government investigation.

He was later awarded £500,000 by the Scottish High Court after the Government admitted they acted unlawfully when they were investigating those claims of sexual harassment. 

Mr Salmond was cleared of all charges and the inquiry is now looking at what went wrong and is focusing on the role Nicola Sturgeon and other SNP members played in handling the case. 

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