Scottish tabloid The Daily Record is standing by its coverage of ‘The Vow’ made by the three main Westminster party leaders promising further devolved powers to Scotland should it reject independence after it was revealed that the document published by the newspaper was unofficial.
An email chain received by website Wings Over Scotland from the office of Tom Clarke MP revealed that ‘The Vow’ - which was published on the front page of the newspaper on the morning of 16 September with the signatures of Prime Minister David Cameron, deputy PM Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Milliband promising new powers for Scotland - did not actually exist as a formal document.
When asked for a copy of the document, a spokesperson in Ed Miliband's office replied in the email chain: "There is no official document, it was something that the Daily Record mocked up. My best suggestion would be to send them the attached. We won’t be producing anything more official."
In fact, the published document was a mock-up created by the newspaper itself, a revelation prompting readers to take to Twitter and Facebook to voice concern about the provenance of the agreement.
In response, editor Murray Foote published a statement on the Daily Record's Facebook page (see gallery) claiming that all three party leaders had negotiated and agreed the wording of The Vow, as well as having signed it.
“To suggest that the lack of an official ‘document’ is in any way significant or that it reduces Cameron, Miliband and Clegg's commitment to The Vow is wrong,” stated Foote.
“The SNP and Greens currently sit side by side with representatives of the three leaders in the Smith Commission actively negotiating new powers for Scotland - just like it said in The Vow,” he concluded.
At the time of writing, The Drum was awaiting a response from managing director and editor-in-chief of Media Scotland Allan Rennie to clarify how The Vow was created.
However, last night Rennie turned to Twitter to answer questions about it and highlighted that the newspaper had also given outgoing First Minister Alex Salmond a platform as guest editor during the referendum build up to deflect any claims of bias reporting.
He also added that he believed the leaders should be held to account for making the promises of more powers being delivered to Scotland.