Alex Salmond’s appearance at the Holyrood harassment inquiry could be in doubt after the Scottish Parliament redacted his submission which criticised Nicola Sturgeon.
The former First Minister’s lawyer demanded to see the legal advice behind the changes and said the issue could have a “material” bearing on whether he can attend tomorrow.
A Holyrood committee is examining the SNP Government’s botched handling of sexual misconduct complaints against Salmond when he was First Minister.
Salmond took the government to court and it was agreed the probe, which destroyed his long-standing friendship with Nicola Sturgeon, had been unlawful.
He was separately acquitted of sexual offences after a trial last year.
Salmond’s allies believe government and SNP figures tried to plot his downfall.
The Holyrood inquiry itself has been at the centre of a huge political controversy over the publication of Salmond’s submissions.
MSPs on the Inquiry voted against publication of some of his evidence amid concerns over potential breach of a court order in the criminal trial.
The parliament’s governing corporate body then decided the submission could be published and it appeared on the Holyrood website yesterday.
Described as a “bombshell” by the Tories, Salmond accused Sturgeon of misleading parliament and breaching the ministerial code of conduct.
He separately accused senior SNP figures, including Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell, of supporting a “malicious and concerted” attempt to damage his reputation.
Parliament’s decision to publish was challenged last night by the Crown Office, which flagged up concerns about the court order.
Parliament pulled the submission from its website today and republished after redacting the document.
The decision to redact has alarmed Salmond, who is scheduled to appear in front of the inquiry tomorrow.
In a letter to the inquiry, Salmond’s lawyer claimed removing any aspect of the submission “compromises” his oral evidence.
He added: “We…require to see URGENTLY the legal basis for the proposed redactions in order that we can properly advise our client and make further representations. These could have a material bearing on whether he is able to attend tomorrow.
“As matters stand, we have advised him that the apparent intervention from the crown suggests that there has to be a material risk to him in speaking to his submission. He cannot be placed in legal jeopardy.
“Accordingly, please send to us now the legal basis for the redactions.”
A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The SPCB agreed to republish the submission in redacted form in line with representations from the Crown Office. We cannot comment any further on the redactions as the Crown Office has advised that its correspondence on this matter must be kept confidential.”