Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw has claimed SNP ministers and government officials should face a Holyrood inquiry on the "shambles" surrounding the botched Alex Salmond probe.

Mr Carlaw, who is interim leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said an investigation should take place if questions relating to the case are not properly answered.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faces a series of questions over her meetings with Mr Salmond during a Scottish Government probe into sexual misconduct claims against him.

Two women lodged formal complaints with the Scottish Government against the former First Minister in January last year.

Mr Salmond denies the allegations and, yesterday, won his legal case contesting the way in which the complaints against him were handled, with a court ruling the Scottish Government had acted unlawfully.

In a statement to MSPs the same day, Ms Sturgeon said she met him twice at home, as well as once in Aberdeen before an SNP conference, and also spoke to him twice on the phone while investigations were ongoing.

She added that Mr Salmond told her about the complaints and his concerns about the process.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer is expected to have to pay up to £500,000 in legal costs following yesterday's court ruling.

Mr Carlaw said: “The questions facing the SNP government are mounting up.

“Nicola Sturgeon claims she did not intervene at any stage, yet now we learn she had no fewer than three meetings and two phone calls with Mr Salmond when he raised his concerns about the process with her.

“If she wanted to stay out of it, why did she agree to meet him?

“We also now learn the SNP government decided to settle after it had learned the First Minister’s closest aide was about to give evidence.

“It begs the question – did the Scottish Government cave in to stop more facts coming to light about its involvement?

“Mr Salmond yesterday made serious accusations that the details of the two women’s case were deliberately leaked to damage his reputation.

“Will the Permanent Secretary order a leak inquiry to find out what has gone on?

“The two women at the centre of this case have been failed by the Scottish Government and when £500,000 of public money has been squandered in the process, the public is entitled to answers.

“If the SNP government won’t front up, then the Scottish Parliament will need to do so.

“A Holyrood inquiry to find out what went on here may be the only way forward.”