THE parliamentary inquiry into the handling of complaints against the former first minister Alex Salmond continues, and we await the outcome of an independent review by Irish lawyer James Hamilton into whether the first minister broke the ministerial code.

There are two key issues here. Did Nicola Sturgeon mislead parliament over when she first knew about the complaints against Alex Salmond? And did the Scottish Government continue to oppose a judicial review on their handling of complaints against Alex Salmond when their legal advice suggested they were very likely to lose, costing the taxpayer £500,000 in the process? Both are serious matters and, if proven, would be breaches of the ministerial code.

You would hope with such serious matters being considered, the Scottish Government would co-operate fully with any inquiry, but this has not been the case.

In fact, SNP ministers have sought to frustrate its investigations – until last week, the Scottish Government refused to publish legal advice on the matter despite two votes in the Scottish Parliament requesting them to do so.

SNP ministers only relented and published some (but not all) of their legal advice last week when the Scottish Conservatives tabled a vote of no confidence in the deputy first minister John Swinney.

With all opposition parties set to back the move, including the Greens, it was only the threat of losing his office that made Mr. Swinney change his mind.

And it was obvious from what was published why SNP ministers wanted to keep it under wraps. It made clear that the Scottish Government's legal case against Alex Salmond's judicial review was doomed months before they conceded the case. Yet they continued to press on in the face of these strong arguments to the contrary and cost the Scottish taxpayer £500,000 in the process. An outrageous waste of public money.

And it gets worse. The Spectator magazine challenged in court a decision not to publish Alex Salmond's final written submission to the inquiry in full. Despite winning this challenge, the Crown Office forced the inquiry to redact some of the information for fear it could identify some of the complainers against Alex Salmond. The same Crown Office that is headed by the Lord Advocate, a member of Nicola Sturgeon's cabinet. The evidence did nothing of the sort, but rather further questioned the actions of the first minister.

New evidence published last week provided three credible witness statements to back up Alex Salmond's accounts of the affair.

They make it clear that Nicola Sturgeon knew about complaints against him before she told parliament she did so.

It is clear that she has misled the Scottish Parliament.

In addition, the partial publication of the legal advice makes clear that the loss of £500,000 was entirely avoidable. Both of these are resigning matters, but the first minister will not take responsibility for her actions.

Nicola Sturgeon must go. The Scottish Conservatives have tabled a vote of no confidence in her. It is time for MSPs across the chamber to do the right thing.