Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond tried in vain today to escape the scent of sleaze after being fingered in the Leveson report into press standards for his cosy ties to the Murdoch media empire.
Mr Salmond attempted to escape negative headlines on Thursday by unveiling plans for a separate inquiry into a Scottish solution to the Leveson findings.
The SNP leader sidestepped a section of the report that suggested he had been willing to act on behalf of billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp as it tried to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
In it Lord Leveson commented that the SNP leader had displayed a "striking" readiness to lobby the Westminster government over the deal.
Scottish Labour culture spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson MSP rejected the First Minister's attempts to draw a line under the issue today.
Ms Ferguson told the Morning Star: "The Leveson report has a whole section devoted to Alex Salmond.
"He concluded that Alex Salmond had tried to telephone culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to lobby him on the BSkyB bid on behalf of Murdoch.
"Hunt was not available. Had he been it would have meant that Alex Salmond had intervened and that would have been inappropriate."
Ms Ferguson added that on the day on which Mr Salmond had met representatives of Mr Murdoch, the Murdoch media decided it would be supporting the Scottish National Party.
Lord Justice Leveson found no evidence of a formal deal to trade NewsCorp newspaper support for the SNP in exchange for Scottish government support for the BSkyB bid, but he noted that both were discussed during the same conversation.
The report says Mr Salmond "cannot be criticised" because he must be "judged by what he did, as opposed to what he said he was prepared to do."
But Ms Ferguson said Mr Salmond's alleged willingness to lobby the British government on behalf of Murdoch meant his heading of any inquiry into the Scottish media would be "inappropriate."
The First Minister has said he wants to convene a meeting of Scottish party leaders to consider the Leveson report in more detail, and that he wanted cross-party agreement on what needs to be done.
Ms Ferguson said: "If he wants to convene the first meeting fine, but going forward we think he should stand aside and let one of his deputies take the lead."
She added that she was not convinced that Scotland needed a different regulatory system from the rest of Britain "given that most titles are cross-border."
Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who is currently promoting a Bill to allow better scrutiny of Scottish politicians' dealings with lobbyists, said that the Leveson report's emphasis on transparency and openness should act as a spur for colleagues to back his plan.
"I want MSPs to give support to the Bill to make sure no-one has undue influence as a result of the power of the media," Mr Findlay said.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue