THE device used by Kirk Ramsay to record the meeting with Michael Russell is a Pulse Smartpen.

Retailing at between £130 and £160, the pen has a built-in high speed infrared camera and a microphone.

It can be used as a voice recorder but also turns hand-written notes into audio files using paper covered with microdots.

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Mr Ramsay laughed off comments by SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell that the device was a "spypen".

He said: "Can you imagine a spy using that? It is five times the size of an ordinary pen, it has a flashing LED display on it and it bleeps when you're using it.

"I was sitting 15ft to 20ft away from the Education Secretary in clear sight of him throughout the meeting as I used the pen. I don't quite see James Bond using that to steal Dr No's plans."

Mr Ramsay said he found the device particularly useful because he suffered from the hearing condition tinnitus.

"Tinnitus causes me to miss certain comments in meetings. Using this pen solved the problem because I can get the bits I have missed."