A HIGH-PROFILE legal battle between two leading Nationalist and Unionist figures is due to start in earnest tomorrow.

The defamation action brought by the blogger Stuart Campbell against former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is scheduled for two days of debate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Mr Campbell, 50, who has born in Stirling but has lived most of his life in Bath, runs the controversial Wings Over Scotland website.

He sued Ms Dugdale, Lothians MSP, for £25,000 last year after she accused him of making homophobic remarks - a charge he strongly denies.

Mr Campbell had tweeted about Tory MSP Oliver Mundell, whose father, the Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell, came out as gay in 2016.

He wrote: “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner."

A preliminary hearing has already decided that the case, before Sheriff Wendy Sheehan, will begin as a legal debate between the lawyers for each side, and neither Ms Dugdale or Mr Campbell is expected to be called as a witness this week.

Sheriff Sheehan could decide to dismiss the action or move to an evidential hearing.

An online provocateur since his early days as a computer games reviewer, Mr Campbell is seen by critics as a figurehead for so-called Cybernats, inspiring the most obnoxious elements of the Yes movement.

He is also notorious for previous comments about the Hillsborough stadium football disaster, blaming Liverpool fans for the 1989 crush which killed 96 people.

In 2012, he said “every single solitary person who died at Hillsborough was killed by Liverpool fans”, adding: “If nobody pushes, nobody dies.”

The official inquiry into the disaster concluded the 96 had been “unlawfully killed” following negligence by police officers at the ground.

David Duckenfield, the former South Yorkshire chief superintendent who was in command, is now being prosecuted for manslaughter.

Mr Campbell tweeted on Wednesday that Ms Dugdale’s defence “specifically cites Hillsborough as proof that I could never be defamed because I'm too vile”.

The SNP also featured in a recent defamation case at the Court of Session.

Former North Lanarkshire councillor Julie McAnulty is suing party activist Sheena McCulloch, who works for MSP Richard Lyle, for £100,000 after she accused her of racism.

Lord Uist is expected to give his judgment in the autumn.