A Holyrood investigation into how misconduct allegations against Alex Salmond were handled has put its work on hold until the conclusion of a court case against him.
MSPs on the Holyrood investigating committee met for the first time yesterday and will meet again within the next few weeks.
But they ruled their inquiry into what happened will not take place until after the criminal case is complete.
The former first minister appeared in court in Edinburgh in January charged with 14 offences, including two of attempted rape, but insisted afterwards that he refutes “absolutely these allegations of criminality”.
Linda Fabiani, a former Scottish Government minister and the Scottish Parliament deputy presiding officer, was selected as committee convener, despite objections from Labour and the Conservatives.
That prompted comment from a number of members of the investigating committee, including Jackie Baillie of Labour.
She said: “The issue at hand is whether the party of Government should be able to appoint the convener of this committee.
“It is clearly unprecedented that a committee of this Parliament is handling complaints against a former first minister, the actions of the current First Minister, both of whom were the leader and are the leader of the SNP.
“I think that places SNP members in a really quite difficult position.
“But my primary concern is one of transparency for this committee in order to do its work.
“The question of perception is all in politics and the perception, unfortunately, is that the party of Government is actually appointing the convener of this committee.
“I think this committee needs to set off on entirely the right foot without fear or favour and for that reason I would ask the committee to think carefully about whether it is indeed the SNP that should have the convenership of the committee.”
Tory MSP Donald Cameron similarly asked SNP MSPs “even at this late stage, to reconsider and offer the convenership to another party”.
Former Cabinet Secretary Angela Constance of the SNP, meanwhile, wanted to point out that she had served in governments led by Mr Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
“There may be people who come into the gaze of this inquiry who I know or have worked with,” she said.
“I do not consider that an inhibitor to doing a job on this committee on behalf of parliament, doing a robust, fair job.
“But I wanted to state the obvious, for the record,” she said.
Ms Fabiani pledged as committee convener she would be “as open and transparent as possible”.