A secrecy row has broken out over a meeting between Nicola Sturgeon and her top civil servant on the anti-harassment policy used to investigate Alex Salmond.
The Scottish Governmenthas confirmed no minutes exist showing what the duo discussed at an important meeting.
A Holyrood committee is examining the SNP government’s unlawful handling of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Salmond in 2018.
Sturgeon and Leslie Evans, who is the Government’s permanent secretary, met on November 21, 2017.
At this point, a draft policy on dealing with harassment allegations against serving and ex ministers was close to being finalised.
A court document said the meeting took place to “discuss the proposed process which by then included provision for dealing with complaints against former ministers”.
After being asked for any minutes, briefings, notes, emails, texts, or other documents relating to the 2017 meeting, the Government replied: “While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government holds no information relevant to your request.”
Sturgeon has said Salmond told her in April 2018 about the investigation into him. However, Evans told the inquiry that in “early” November 2017 she told Sturgeon about a separate Salmond issue being looked at by Sky News.
The absence of documents will fuel criticisms about records not being kept of key Government meetings.
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: “How can they possibly justify hiding the details of such a vital discussion between the First Minister and top civil servant in the country? The SNP’s murkiness plunges new depths all the time.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In the normal course of government business not all conversations and meetings are minuted.”