Alex Neil (L) has come out in strong support of Alex Salmond
The political fallout from Alex Salmondís trial has begun to unfold barely a day after he was acquitted of all thirteen sexual assault charges.
Salmond, who was Scotlandís First Minister from 2007 to 2014, is a towering figure in the Scottish independence movement. He was the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for a full decade from 2004 to 2014.
The first shots in what promises to be a long and intense political fight was fired from inside the ranks of an increasingly divided SNP.
Alex Neil, who is a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Airdrie and Shotts constituency, has called for a judge to investigate claims that the Scottish government "conspired" to "do in" Salmond.
Neil claimed allegations that the "organs of the state" conspired against Salmond were "central" to the former Scottish First Ministerís defence.
Speaking to the BBCís Good Morning Scotland programme, Neil said: "If the organs of the state like the civil service, the Crown Office and government advisors were involved in any such conspiracy, thatís a very serious matter".
"So my view is that, once the coronavirus crisis is over, there needs to be an independent judge-led inquiry to find out was there a conspiracy, if there was what was the conspiracy, who was involved and was there criminality involved in such a conspiracy", Neil added.
The early intervention by Neil is all the more remarkable in view of his seniority in the SNP and the Scottish government. Neil has held several cabinet-level positions, notably as head of the health department from 2012 to 2014.
Most recently Neil was the secretary for social justice, communities and pensionersí rights from 2014 to 2016.
Neil is joined by a further two senior SNP politicians in raising difficult questions about the integrity of Salmondís trial.
Joanna Cherry, who is an SNP MP in the House of Commons, has said the juryís verdict in the case raises "very serious questions" about the SNP and Scottish governmentís "handling" of the complaints made against Salmond.
Moreover, SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who is a former Scottish justice secretary, has tweeted that "some resignations" are in order following Salmondís resounding acquittal.
For her part, SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has yet to congratulate Salmond for proving his innocence in court.
Sturgeon, who replaced Salmond as First Minister in November 2014, limited herself to saying the juryís verdict in the case "must be respected".
"I have no doubt that there will be further discussion around this issue in due course, and I will welcome that, but that time is not now", Sturgeon added by referencing the coronavirus crisis.
Beyond Scottish politics, journalists and commentators have been busy pontificating on the Salmond trial and its repercussions.
Arguably the best piece was by Scottish journalist, Stephen Daisley, who wrote in The Spectator that "Alex Salmond will have his revenge".
SOURCE: PRESS TV