Tabloids Lock Horns Following Sun's Support for Salmond

Scotland's two top selling daily newspapers – the Daily Record and The Scottish Sun – locked horns in deadly electoral combat today to promote their differing editorial stances on who their readers should vote for in next month’s Scottish Parliament election.

Following the Scottish Sun’s announcement yesterday that it will be backing the Scottish National Party, the Daily Record, which backs Scottish Labour, today accuses its News International-owned rival redtop of supporting the SNP to help a Tory Government in Westminster.

It quotes Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray, as saying: “It’s no surprise Rupert Murdoch wants people to vote against Labour in Scotland because he knows it will help David Cameron in England.”

The Daily Record recruited the former head of communications for the last national Labour Government, Alastair Campbell, to write a by-lined article in which the former journalist claimed: “While Salmond may be tempted to grin even more broadly now the Sun have finally endorsed him, he will be a little fearful of the insight many Scots will hold.

”Namely, they’re doing it to help a Tory Government in Westminster – not because they care too deeply what happens in Holyrood.”

The Trinity Mirror owned tabloid, which refers to The Scottish Sun as 'a London-based Tory paper', points out that the Sun … “still employ the most deluded Scots-basher in history – former editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

“The right-wing ranter still writes a weekly column but the nervous paper doesn’t publish it here – no wonder.”

The Record’s two-page Holyrood election spread is dominated by a mock-up picture of David Cameron manipulating Salmond as a puppet, with the heading: ‘Vote Salm Help Cam; Tory leader pulls string for the Nats’.

The Scottish Sun devotes four pages to the Holyrood election – with two pages spotlighting various Scottish celebrities – including actor, Sir Sean Connery – who have pledged their support to the SNP.

The remaining two pages are largely given over to attacking Gray, and carries three pictures of the Scottish Labour leader being confronted by its reporter, Irina Nelson, brandishing a copy of yesterday's paper which was emblazoned with the front-page heading,  ‘Play it again, Salm’.

The redtop reported: “Labour leader Iain Gray was running scared again yesterday – when he was confronted with our paper backing the SNP.

“Mr Gray dashed away from our reporter – just days after the hapless politician scarpered inside a Subway sandwich shop in Glasgow to hide from protesters angered at spending cuts.”