THE chief executive of the SNP and former editor of the Daily Record has said he supported independence “even during my newspaper days”.

Murray Foote, who ran the pro-Labour paper during the 2014 independence referendum campaign and orchestrated The Vow, has said independence was a “a cause I have believed in for as long as I can remember”.

And the former journalist – who quit newspapers in 2018 to work as the SNP’s head of communications – dismissed arguments the party is “full of careerists who are not interested in delivering Scottish independence” as “clueless guff”.

In a piece for the SNP’s in-house magazine, Foote said: “Every day I go to work knowing my job is the pursuit of independence.

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“It’s a cause I have believed in for as long as I can remember – yes, even during my days working in newspapers.”

He added: “The difference with this job is that everything is magnified and relentlessly discussed in newspaper column inches and websites or on the airwaves of Scotland's broadcast media.

“From my time in newspapers I know such scrutiny goes with the territory. The trick is to not let it distract from the job in hand.

“Although I must admit to irritation when yet another so-called political commentator claims 'the SNP is full of careerists who are not interested in delivering Scottish independence'.

“Four months into the role and I can categorically state that suggestion is amongst the most clueless guff I have ever read, and I’ve read some A-grade guff in my time.”

Foote was the editor of the Daily Record when it ran the famous front page some believe to have tipped the referendum back in favour of No after a Sunday Times poll gave Yes a marginal lead.

Writing in 2015, Foote said: “Contrary to popular belief, we never wanted The Vow to sway the outcome of the vote, even if that’s what the politicians who signed it might have hoped for.

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“Our intention was to make binding more powers for those people who voted No.”

In a 2018 piece for the Daily Record, Foote said he had changed his views on independence after Brexit and said the "difficult decisions our independent nation would face and sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me". 

The Vow saw the three main party leaders in Westminster at the time – David Cameron (below), Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg – all commit to new powers for Scotland, which were delivered in the aftermath of the referendum.

The National: Prime Minister David Cameron.

Some, including former first minister Alex Salmond, believe its impact in showing a united front among the Unionist side helped swing public opinion back in favour of No.

Foote wrote in 2015: “The Vow caused an unprecedented reaction on Tuesday, September 16.

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“But it became a bigger talking point post-election as Salmond scrambled about for excuses for what turned out to be a heavy and personally humiliating defeat.

“His ego would not allow him to look inwardly at his own failings so he chose to blame The Vow, which his fanclub variously described as a fake or a con.”

But in research published last spring, academics said there was no evidence The Vow swung it for No.

Foote quit his position as the SNP’s head of communications after a row over membership numbers in which he said he had been misled into providing inaccurate information to the media.

He later took up the position of chief executive after the resignation of Peter Murrell, who also quit over the row.