Alex Salmond has criticised Nicola Sturgeon for using the coronavirus briefing to make claims about him ahead of his giving evidence to a Holyrood committee.

Giving evidence the Scottish Parliament committee into the handling of harassment complaints against him, he said that the leadership of the country and its institutions has failed.

Salmond said at the opening of his evidence, the inquiry was not about him and that he had established illegality on the part of the Scottish Government in the Court of Session and that he was acquitted of charges by a jury.

He said he was “astonished on Wednesday when the First Minister used a Covid press conference to effectively question the decision of a jury.”

He said the inquiry was “about the actions of others, ministers, civil servants and advisers” who he said appear to have “no understanding of the separation of powers of institutions".

Salmond said: “It was the Scottish Government who was found to have acted unlawfully.”

He added: “The Crown Office has not failed. Its leadership has failed.

“The civil service has not failed, its leadership has failed.

“Scotland has not failed, its leadership has failed.”

Salmond said there has been a “failure of leadership” for months.

But, he said: “There has been not a single resignation or sacking, instead promotions and extensions of contracts.

“The government acted illegally but somehow nobody is to blame.”

Alex Salmond is continuing to give evidence  to the committee this afternoon.