MSPs raise ‘serious concern’ over deleted data in Salmond probe

The Scottish Government is facing calls to spell out what efforts are being made to "retrieve any information that has been deleted" about its collapsed harassment probe into Alex Salmond.

The Scottish Government probe into Salmond collapsed in January

The head of the Holyrood committee probing the case also wants to know if action was taken quickly enough by the Government to ensure key data relating to the probe was retained.

Linda Fabiani hit out today after the Scottish Government's top civil servant Leslie Evans told MSPs earler this year that some details may have been deleted and cannot be retrieved.

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MSPs raise concern that key data in Alex Salmond case already ‘deleted’

An internal probe into complaints about Salmond collapsed in January after the Scottish Government was found to have acted illegally by the Court of Session. The ex-First Minister has since been charged with a number of criminal sexual offences, all of which he denies.

The committee on the Scottish Government's handling of Harassment Complaints will not begin deliberations until the criminal case is disposed of, but is keen that key evidence is retained. This has resulted in a number of strained exchanges with the Government and Nicola Sturgeon in recent months.

MSPs also want to know what happens to information that is deleted as part of the records management process or otherwise.

"In the case of this inquiry, what attempts have been made to retrieve any information that has been deleted," Ms Fabiani adds.

"For example, is any such information held on back-up files or other IT systems from which such information could be retrieved."

And she adds: "The Committee is also concerned about the timescales involved and whether the action taken to preserve this information following the Committee’s request was carried out in time to ensure that all relevant information is retained."