THE question Westminster-watchers will be asking is – did Stewart Hosie jump or was he pushed?

By sheer coincidence, Nicola Sturgeon is due in Westminster today to meet her 50-plus MPs to share in the afterglow of the SNP’s very successful Holyrood campaign.

The First Minister’s sojourn to London was expected to have been an upbeat and uplifting affair for her and her colleagues; instead there is now a rather large shadow hanging over it.

Read more: Stewart Hosie apologises for 'any hurt and upset' as he resigns as SNP's deputy leader

Sources have suggested that the decision to step aside as deputy leader was Mr Hosie’s alone. In his letter of resignation to Ms Sturgeon, the Dundee MP noted how he had been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the past few years with very high blood pressure; he suffered a minor stroke in 2012.

“In that regard,” he explained, “the stress of the intense scrutiny of my private life has been very difficult.” He added that he now intended to “concentrate on my constituents, my responsibilities at Westminster, and most importantly, my health”.


No doubt, seeing your private life spread across newspapers with lurid headlines is difficult for a politician with even the thickest of skins.

The dictum, attributed to Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alistair Campbell, was that if a politician was in the headlines for more than 12 days, then he was toast.

Mr Hosie’s smiling face has not quite been on our front pages for that long but such negative publicity never helps a party, the MP or its leader.

Read more: Stewart Hosie resignation - Exchange of letters between Nicola Sturgeon and outgoing deputy leader

Indeed, the twist to this particular tale is that there was not one SNP member involved but two; Mr Hosie’s colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil also had an affair with the same actress-turned-journalist, albeit not at the same time.

Another twist to the tale has been that Mr Hosie’s now estranged wife Shona Robison is not only the SNP Government’s health secretary but also a very close friend of Ms Sturgeon. Pictures of the two women politicians hugging each other after the revelation of the “SNP love triangle” broke were interpreted as one friend comforting another.


With the parliamentary authorities now being called on to investigate whether or not the taxpayer funded the expenses of the SNP MPs’ trysts with Serena Cowdy, this affair is not going to end any time soon.

With two other Nationalist MPs under investigation over their finances – both strenuously deny any wrongdoing – an unexpected cloud hangs over the SNP.

Labour has now energetically seized onto this latest parliamentary scandal, having, it seems recovered from the Lord Sewel cocaine and sex affair.

Read more: Stewart Hosie to step down as SNP's deputy leader in wake of controversy over private life

Ian Murray, the party’s only MP in Scotland, pointed out on the back of their historic General Election triumph, the SNP boasted that their new battalion of MPs would be stronger for Scotland but, the shadow Scottish secretary, suggested just 12 months on many had become a “source of real embarrassment”.

The Edinburgh MP claimed the SNP love triangle had “not just seen them let down their party but they are letting down the people of Scotland, who voted for them and expect much better behaviour”.

In years past when the SNP numbered only a handful of MPs, they often looked on disparagingly at the lurid headlines created by the Tories, Liberal Democrats and Labour. With this parliament only a year old, one could be forgiven for suggesting that it looks like they are making up for lost time.