The man who masterminded the infamous pro-Union 'Vow' on the eve of the 2014 independence referendum has been hired as the SNP’s new spindoctor.

Former Daily Record editor Murray Foote will be the party’s head of communications and research at Holyrood.

HeraldScotland: Camley's cartoon: SNP hire Murray Foote.Camley's cartoon: SNP hire Murray Foote.

Mr Foote, 53, was instrumental in orchestrating the Vow and putting it on the newspaper’s front page two days before the September 18 vote.

It was intended to make a positive case for staying in the UK after a shock poll put Yes ahead.

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Signed by Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour’s Ed Miliband and LibDem Nick Clegg, it promised “extensive new powers” for Holyrood if Scots voted No.

Alex Salmond credited it with swaying public opinion against independence, although pollsters say its influence has been over-rated.

It has nevertheless become an object of loathing and derision for many Yes supporters.

Mr Foote told the Herald: “I have always been sympathetic to the cause.

“Anybody who knows me knows - this does not come as a surprise to them.”

Asked about the Vow, he said: “I had a job to do.

“My job was to represent the views of the readership of the Daily Record. That was what I did to the best of my ability, regardless of my political persuasion.”

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In 2018, after retiring as four years as Record editor, Mr Foote announced he was a supporter of independence.

A media veteran with 33 years in newspapers, his appointment will be seen as a coup by the SNP as it heads to the 2021 Holyrood election, albeit controversial.

It also puts pressure on the next Scottish Tory leader to make an equally weighty hire after the recent departure of respected spindoctor Eddie Barnes.

A Whitehall source said: "Murray’s first job should be explaining to SNP members that The Vow on new powers for the Scottish Parliament was fulfilled in full by the UK Government. We wish him the best of luck with that!"