A legal ruling could pave the way for Alex Salmond to give evidence to the Holyrood committee investigating the way the Scottish Government handled allegations against him.
The former first minister’s scheduled appearance on Tuesday was cancelled amid a dispute over his evidence, and a decision not to publish his full submission.
A legal action by The Spectator could now force a U-turn on the publication.
Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “This decision presents the committee with the opportunity to publish the evidence and question Mr Salmond
“It is clear from today’s decision that the publication of the evidence is in the public interest and that it may be used by the committee.
“It is the duty of the committee to get to the bottom of this fiasco and understand why the Scottish Government’s procedures were so flawed and why the women involved were badly let down.
“I have called for an emergency meeting of the committee tomorrow and I hope that colleagues will allow publication of the evidence and invite Mr Salmond to attend in person.
“Failure to seize this opportunity would be most unfortunate for the credibility of the committee and its work.”
Now this has happened, there is no reason why @AlexSalmond cannot give evidence to our Committee. I am proposing that we invite him as a witness, using our powers of compulsion if necessary – as @NicolaSturgeon called for yesterday. https://t.co/oXFrWdKfVr
— Murdo Fraser (@murdo_fraser) February 11, 2021
The court order preventing the publication of the identity of complainers in HMA v Alex Salmond remains in place
— COPFS (@COPFS) February 11, 2021
Conservative committee member Murdo Fraser said: “We have been saying from the outset that our committee will not be able to do its job properly unless we are able to question Alex Salmond in person.
“While we await the full details of the revised order and what implications it will have, I am satisfied that we now have grounds to compel Salmond to attend.
“I would expect SNP members to agree that this must happen, as suggested yesterday by Nicola Sturgeon herself.
“Sturgeon has already lied to parliament by saying she and her party would ensure full co-operation with the inquiry. The reality has been a cynical and determined campaign to thwart us at every turn.
“People may be confused and frustrated at this despicable SNP chicanery. It is therefore vital for the committee shows our teeth. A failure to do the right thing would undermine the reputation of our parliament.”
More to follow.