Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Thursday, 25 October 2012 13:14 UK

Scottish Parliament

Alex Salmond said he had asked independent advisers to check whether or not he was in breach of the ministerial code of conduct over the EU legal advice row as the issue dominated first minister's questions on 25 October 2012.

Mr Salmond told the chamber the findings of the independent panel of advisors on the ministerial code would be made public.

It follows a complaint from the Labour Euro MP Catherine Stihler.

The row over whether his government had held legal advice on the EU status of an independent Scotland erupted when opposition leaders and MSPs accused the first minister of telling BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil that there was legal advice, when none had been sought.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont accused the first minister of being as "straight as a corkscrew" and asked why he said he had sought advice from law officers when he had not, given that impression in the chamber and gone to court at "our expense" to stop the release of advice "he knew did not exist".

The first minister replied he had been bound by the ministerial code that he could not reveal the existence or content of specific legal advice from the law officers without their prior consent.

He added it had been absolutely clear in the BBC interview that he was referring to the general debate and documents that had been published consistent with legal advice received from the law officers, which he said was quite different from specific legal advice.

Mr Salmond said when the Labour party had been bound by freedom of information for the last two years it was part of the Scottish executive, it had gone to the court of session to defend the principle of non disclosure five times, adding in five years the SNP government had brought just two cases to the court.

Ms Lamont said the first minister "will say anything to get through the moment and then ask us to take his assertions on trust, but doesn't he realise after this week nobody trusts him".

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said "What is the inescapable truth is that neither this first minister nor his deputy can be trusted to tell the truth", having earlier compared Mr Salmond to Del Boy, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon over the legal advice issue.

Mr Salmond hit back saying Ms Davidson most resembled Mitt Romney.

He earlier said: "I'm struck by the fact that the Conservative Party seem to think position on the ministerial code is something which is unique to this government, in fact it's been carried by every Westminster and Scottish government from time immemorial".

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