THE campaigning MP behind the phone-hacking scandal investigation has warned Alex Salmond could get "eaten up" by his association with Rupert Murdoch.

Labour MP Tom Watson, who has been at the forefront of the inquiry into the phone-hacking by the Murdoch-owned News of the World said yesterday that with the number of inquiries ongoing into the media mogul's organisation he was "not the sort of company the leader in Scotland or the leader anywhere else should be keeping".

Mr Watson, who was in Glasgow yesterday to take part in the Aye Write! literary festival, said: "I think what my observation over the three years of the hacking inquiry and witnessing how News International in particular had a grip on Westminster, is that they are fair-weather friends and ultimately this is an organisation that eats people up and that is not good for Alex Salmond and more importantly

"I don't think it is good for Scotland."

He said that as a young MP in 2001 he secretly admired the First Minister for "the way he spoke truth to power", but was now concerned he had become "seduced by that power".

The West Bromwich East MP added: "He did it with aplomb and with great character so I guess that is why I feel so disappointed that he would feel the need to get so close to Rupert Murdoch, particularly in the light of what we now know about the criminal endeavours that went on in at least one of his newspapers."

The politician said that, at a time when even David Cameron is not associating with the Murdoch empire, he finds it "curious" Mr Salmond is.

A spokesman for the First Minister said: "The problem for Tom Watson and the Labour Party is Gordon Brown said he was aware of and shocked at the activities of News International when he became Prime Minister in 2007, yet did nothing about it – just as the Operation Motorman report in 2006 detailing over 3000 breaches of data protection across a range of titles was ignored by Westminster.

"As the First Minister said last July, the hacking activities at News of the World were vile and reprehensible. We support the police inquiries and we support the Leveson Inquiry to the hilt, and we talk to all employers in Scotland in our efforts to boost jobs and investment."

Around 200 people were in the Mitchell Library last night to hear Mr Watson speak about his role in uncovering the scandal. It was followed by The Herald Debate on the Future of the Media, which featured Herald chief reporter Lucy Adams.

The Herald is a media partner for the festival, which runs until March 17 with appearances from AL Kennedy, Richard Holloway and Alexander McCall Smith.

There will also be events featuring Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the Scots Makar Liz Lochhead and Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales.