Plans for a Scottish Six news bulletin will pave the way for a 'descent into inward-looking parochialism', according to a former Scottish Secretary.

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the BBC to drop plans for the new new hour-long bulletin, which will replace the UK-wide Six O'Clock News and Reporting Scotland.

Lord Forsyth has now criticised the proposals, stating the BBC has a 'clear duty to all licence payers'.

He told the Daily Mail: "The BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation, not a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, and has a clear duty to all licence payers throughout the UK to deliver the national news.

"The BBC already provides excellent regional news and the last thing we need in Scotland is a descent into inward-looking parochialism which is what a Scottish Six would undoubtedly become."

Alex Salmond last week said the Scottish Six 'would aim to provide Scotland's window on the world'.

He told the Daily Mail: "The BBC should be hanging its head in shame that they haven't taken advantge of the many opportunities to deliver an appropriate news programme and service to the Scottish people. So I'm glad that progress has now been made.

"Of course before this campaign the most recent call was from the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, chaired by Blair Jenkins, which was passed unanimously by the Scottish parliament, and even in the face of a unanimous recommendation, the BBC didn't respond."

Plans for a Scottish Six, an hour-long news bulletin to replace the existing UK-wide Six O'Clock News and Reporting Scotland, have plunged BBC Scotland into turmoil.

Staff have voiced anger at an "insulting" internal document which, they claim, implies the present Glasgow-based news team is not up to the job.

They are also furious at having learned of the plans in a newspaper report on Tuesday, and over demands to produce a series of complex pilot shows at short notice.

On Friday BBC Scotland bosses agreed to consult with staff over plans for a new programme in a bid to head off possible industrial action aimed at blocking the project..

However, members of National Union of Journalists at the corporation warned they may still declare a dispute – a formal procedure that would effectively put the plans on hold – if the talks are not a "proper consultation".

The Herald has obtained a copy of the internal document, which gives detailed running orders for three possible future formats.