I said yesterday that Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie had got out his wooden spoon as regards Alex Salmond's locking-stable-door-after-horse-bolted comments about News International.
Today, he ramped up the pressure on Alex Salmond by writing to him to ask him to give more details about his dealings with News International and whether he had ever raised the issue of phone hacking, about which he suddenly feels so strongly (and it's all Westminster's fault, by the way).
“The First Minister needs to come clean instead of ducking and diving on his responsibility.
“Instead of carping from the side-lines, the First Minister needs to tell us what he had to do to secure the endorsement of News International and the affiliated papers that backed him during the recent Scottish elections.
“The First Minister has criticised Westminster politicians for their failure to regulate the industry but has neglected to answer the questions laid at his door about his relationship with News International. Surely the First Minister does not realise how two-faced he is being. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. “I want to know whether the First Minister asked any questions or was he prepared to turn a blind eye in order to secure support for Scottish independence at any cost.
“If the First Minister is to save any face, he needs to distance himself and the Scottish Government from this scandal.”
The full text of Willie's letter to Alex Salmond is as follows:
Dear First Minister, In light of the deeply shocking events that have unfolded over the last week, I am writing to urge you to disclose the details of your dealings with News International while seeking their endorsement. Following the criticism that you levelled at the corporation this weekend, it is inconsistent for your party to continue to accept News International’s support.
The allegations that have surfaced over recent days are dreadful, yet these follow on from those that were made a number of years ago. People in Scotland want to know what questions you asked of News International before accepting their backing for the election in May. Did you raise any concerns about phone hacking during these discussions and, if so, what assurances did you seek about the previous allegations? This scandal has shocked people throughout the country and I believe that, as First Minister, you must now make your position clear. Will you now set out the details of all discussions and negotiations between your party and News International?
Yours sincerelyWillie Rennie MSPLeader, Scottish Liberal Democrats
It'll be interesting to see how Mr Salmond responds. It's not as if the First Minister had no opportunities to raise his concerns about phone hacking, as Severin Carroll of the Guardian pointed out back in April.