Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond accused senior officials in the Scottish government and Scottish National Party close to his successor Nicola Sturgeon of engaging in a â€œmalicious and concerted effortâ€ to â€œbanishâ€ him from public life.
The explosive claims come ahead of Salmondâ€™s appearance in person before a Scottish parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday. The inquiry, along with another official probe led by a barrister, is investigating whether the Scottish government mishandled harassment allegations against the former leader â€” claims that led to hisÂ prosecution and eventual acquittalÂ of all charges.
The inquiries could be damaging for the pro-Scottish independence SNP and for Sturgeon, who has accused Salmond of peddling â€œinsinuation and assertion.â€
Setting out his lines of attack in advance, Salmond claimed a â€œdeliberate, 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.â€ Without Scotlandâ€™s courts and justice system, Salmond claims, the effort would have succeeded.
Salmond took aim atÂ a host of SNP figures, including its chief executive â€” and Sturgeonâ€™s husband â€” Peter Murrell. The Scottish governmentâ€™s most senior official Leslie Evans also comes under attack, with Salmond saying she â€œseems oblivious to the scale of disaster she has inflicted on all concernedâ€ â€” as does the Crown Office, Scotlandâ€™s independent public prosecution service.
â€œPerhaps 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,â€ he argued.
Salmond claimed â€œdocumentary evidence existsâ€ to support all of his explosive allegations and that where â€œlegally allowed,â€ he will be happy to â€œdirect the committee to such documents.â€
With multiple references to potential resignations in the document, itâ€™s clear Salmond expects top officials to lose their jobs when the Holyrood committee submits its report into the governmentâ€™s handling of complaints in the next few months.
The saga took another twist on Tuesday when Scottish parliamentary authorities removed one part of Salmondâ€™s evidence following a complaint from the Crown Office. A parliamentary spokesperson said it would be republished later with added redactions.
As far as Sturgeonâ€™s own position is concerned, her future is likely to rest on the contents of a report from the separate but linked inquiry currently looking at whether she misled the Scottish parliament.
If the report rules she broke the ministerial code by lying to the Holyrood about when she found out about complaints against Salmond, the expectation would be that Sturgeon resigns. Itâ€™s unclear when the report will be published.
In a preemptive strike, Sturgeon told broadcasters just hours before the submission was published that claims of a conspiracy are not true and have been put forward â€œwithout a shred of evidence.â€
The first minister said her predecessor had an â€œobligationâ€ to present evidence for his claims when he appears in the Scottish Parliament Wednesday.