image captionMs Sturgeon once described Mr Salmond as having been the most significant person in her adult life.
Two of Scotland’s best known politicians are involved in a row which some people believe could force Nicola Sturgeon to quit as the country’s first minister.
Who are Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon?
The pair dominated Scottish politics for more than a decade, and led the campaign for Scotland to become independent from the UK.
Alex Salmond was Scotland’s first minister and the SNP leader before being succeeded by Ms Sturgeon – who had been his deputy – after the 2014 independence referendum, which saw Scotland back remaining in the UK by 55% to 45%.
Why have they fallen out?
The row began when allegations of sexual harassment – which he strongly denied – were made against Mr Salmond by two female civil servants in 2018.
The complaints were made after Ms Sturgeon asked for new government policies on sexual harassment to be put in place in the wake of the #MeToo movement, with Mr Salmond believing that the new policy was specifically aimed at him.
Mr Salmond and his supporters claim that Ms Sturgeon has misled parliament over the government inquiry into the allegations, and have accused officials close to her of conspiring against Mr Salmond – all of which Ms Sturgeon denies.
The Scottish government eventually admitted it had botched its investigation and had to pay Mr Salmond’s legal fees of more than £500,000 after it admitted it had acted unlawfully.
But in January 2019, Mr Salmond was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, including attempted rape.
What happened in Alex Salmond’s trial?
image captionMr Salmond was cleared of all of the charges against him by a High Court jury
Mr Salmond was cleared of all 13 charges – which were alleged to have happened while he was first minister – after a trial last March.
The nine women who made the allegations included an SNP politician, a party worker and several current and former Scottish government civil servants and officials.
In court, Mr Salmond said the claims made about his alleged conduct were “deliberate fabrications for a political purpose” or “exaggerations”.
After being acquitted, he said there was “certain information” that he had been unable to talk about during the trial, but which would “see the light of day” in the future.
The remark was widely seen as being a threat by Mr Salmond to make further allegations about Ms Sturgeon’s involvement in the case public.
Ms Sturgeon has suggested that her predecessor is angry at her because she “did not collude with him” to make the sexual harassment allegations “go away”.
Following the trial, two separate inquiries began – one by a committee of MSPs and another by James Hamilton QC, Ireland’s former director of public prosecutions.
What are the inquiries looking at?
The committee is examining the Scottish government’s handling of the complaints against Mr Salmond, but has accused both sides of attempting to obstruct and delay its work.
Some government officials have been recalled by the committee after members were unhappy with the answers they gave, as was Ms Sturgeon’s husband – SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
Mr Murrell has been accused by opposition politicians of lying about meetings between his wife and Mr Salmond in their Glasgow home – which were not formally recorded – and about text messages he sent which appeared to suggest that pressure should be put on the police to take action against the former first minister.
image captionOpposition politicians have accused Mr Murrell of lying under oath while giving his evidence to the committee
Meanwhile, the second inquiry is examining whether Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code – which sets out how ministers should conduct themselves – by interfering with the civil service investigation into the allegations, or by lying to parliament.
Under the spotlight is a meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond’s former chief of staff, Geoff Aberdein. It took place in Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish Parliament office on 29 March 2018, when she is said to have been told about the allegations against Mr Salmond for the first time.
Ms Sturgeon initially told parliament she had not learned of the allegations until she was informed by Mr Salmond himself a few days later – before later claiming to have “forgotten” about the meeting.
The ministerial code says all of the first minister’s meetings should be recorded – but the one with Mr Aberdein was not.
What could it mean for Nicola Sturgeon?
image captionMany Scottish voters believe Ms Sturgeon has handled the coronavirus pandemic well
If Ms Sturgeon is found to have broken the ministerial code she would – under normal circumstance – be expected to resign as first minister.
However, polls suggest she remains popular with voters and this might reduce any pressure for her to quit.
The row has divided the SNP, with some prominent MPs openly backing Mr Salmond.
With a Scottish Parliament election due to be held in May, it remains to be seen whether the controversy cuts through to Scottish voters, whose attention has largely been focused on the pandemic.