Alex Salmond demands resignations amid accusations of 'deliberate and malicious effort' to expel him from public life

Alex Salmond has demanded those involved in the botched handling of harassment complaints against him resign amid accusations those at the top of the SNP and the Scottish Government were engaged in a “deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort” to expel him from public life.

In his final submission to the Salmond inquiry, the former first minister directly accused named members of the SNP and other members of Nicola Sturgeon’s staff of attempting to “recruit and persuade” individuals to submit police complaints against him.

Placing the blame of the failed harassment complaints procedure at the foot of permanent secretary Leslie Evans, the former leader of the SNP said “any person conscious of the responsibility of holding high office would have resigned long ago”.

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The Crown Office is also criticised, with Mr Salmond labelling it “simply not fit for purpose” and accusing it of behaviour that is not “of a prosecution department independent of government influence”.

Alex Salmond's evidence on the botched handling of harassment complaints against him has been published.

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The publication of his evidence comes as Mr Salmond confirmed he will give evidence to the harassment complaints committee in person on Wednesday, despite what his team labelled as “unnecessary” redactions to his submissions.

The committee is examining the botched handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond by the Scottish Government, which led to a £500,000 legal bill after the Government conceded a judicial review challenge on the grounds of the process being “tainted by apparent bias”.

Mr Salmond was also acquitted of sexual offence charges in a trial last year.

In his submission, he accuses the Scottish Government and the SNP of a “malicious and concerted attempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland”.

He said: “It is an attempt which would, in fact, have succeeded, but for the protection of the court and jury system and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.

“However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all, is the complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law.

“I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy, but am very clear in my position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned.

“That includes, for the avoidance of doubt, Peter Murrell (chief executive), Ian McCann (compliance officer) and Sue Ruddick (chief operating officer) of the SNP together with Liz Lloyd, the First Minister’s chief of staff.

“There are others who, for legal reasons, I am not allowed to name.”

He added: “The real cost to the Scottish people runs into many millions of pounds and yet no-one in this entire process has uttered the simple words which are necessary on occasions to renew and refresh democratic institutions – ‘I resign’.

“The committee now has the opportunity to address that position.”

Mr Salmond also indicates in his submission that he plans to return to the police with a complaint over the leaking of the decision report from within the Scottish Government to the Daily Record.

Criticising the Crown Office, he said he was “confident” he knew the identity of the leaker and indicated it was highly likely to be a special adviser.

In his accusations against senior members of the SNP, Mr Salmond questioned why Mr Murrell would contact staff about making complaints following a “selectively” sent email to SNP staff.

In the submission he states: “Mr Murrell deployed his senior staff to recruit and persuade staff and ex-staff to submit police complaints.

“This activity was being co-ordinated with special advisers and was occurring after the police investigation had started and after I ceased to be a member of the SNP.

"From the description of the material released to the committee under section 23, it is clear that any supporting evidence establishing this point was not shared with the committee by the Crown Office. Why?”

Speaking about the establishment of the complaints process, Mr Salmond claims it is “impossible to accept” the addition of former ministers was not “specifically inserted to allow the complaint against me to be prosecuted.”

Attacking the permanent secretary’s handling of the scandal, the former first minister said Ms Evans was “chiefly responsible for the pursuit of an unlawful policy, which has cost the Scottish people millions of pounds”.

In her evidence also published by the committee on Monday night, MsLloyd said she “rejected in its entirety” claims she was involved in a conspiracy to destroy Mr Salmond.

Denying she was involved in attempts to extend the complaints process to include Mr Salmond, or in the development of the procedure, the special adviser added it was “false” to say she was involved in the leak of the decision report to the Daily Record.

Reacting, Scottish Conservative spokesperson on the committee, Murdo Fraser, said: "I think we can now see why folk in the SNP went to such lengths to prevent publication of this evidence from their former leader."

A spokesperson for the SNP repeated the words of Ms Sturgeon, saying the submission was “just more assertion without a shred of credible evidence”.

The spokesperson said: “Several of the women have already made clear how utterly absurd it is to suggest they were part of a conspiracy to bring him down. And yet Alex Salmond is still making these ridiculous and baseless claims and lashing out at all and sundry.

"People who supported him loyally for years and worked tirelessly to get him elected don't deserve these smears. And women who made complaints about his behaviour – who barely merit a mention in his conspiracy dossier – most certainly deserve better."

The First Minister will give evidence to the inquiry next week.

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