Alex Salmond has criticised Scotland’s most senior civil servant for making a “Richter scale” level mistake.

Leslie Evans claimed ownership of the “unlawful” policy, which was tainted by bias, Mr Salmond says, citing the judicial review.

He told the committee: “People make mistakes, in terms of the civil service, just like anybody else, government ministers, politicians. It happens all the time. But in terms of the Richter scale of mistakes, this is right up there, this is a very big one.”

He added that “you would have hoped, believed, that someone would have accepted responsibility” for this.

Although he did not call for her to resign – instead using “the normal language that perhaps the Permanent Secretary should now consider her position” – he did so because “she had claimed ownership over this policy”.

“She said in a letter to my lawyers ‘it was a policy established by me’. That was her words,” he said. “I thought therefore she had responsibility for the policy…  somebody has to accept responsibility for a calamitous occurrence and defeat.”

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