MUCH raising of eyebrows over Alex Salmond’s claim he inspired SNP Westminster Ian Blackford to lead a Commons walk-out, as the two men were once mortal enemies. In 2000, the SNP suspended Mr Blackford as its treasurer after he queried the party’s spending under El Presidente’s regime. Mr Blackford accused him of “control freakery”, treating folk with “utter contempt”, and “political cowardice”. Terms of affection he now reserves for the Tories.

MIND you, there was something distinctly Eck-esque in the way Mr Blackford cuffed away Moray MP Douglas Ross in Monday’s debate on the Sewel Convention. The youthful Tory, who is a part-time referee, asked about Holyrood having more powers after Brexit. Mr Blackford was unimpressed. “To use a football term, that was miles offside, son,” he sniffed.

MR Blackford also gave an unlikely plug mid-peroration. “There is a wonderful book called ‘The Scottish Secretaries’,” he told MPs. This was most unusual as the author is none other than Nat bête noire David Torrance, recently lampooned in an SNP political broadcast. Mr Torrance tweeted he was “touched” by the mention. “Must be the first time a Nationalist used the term ‘wonderful’ in relation to something you wrote,” observed Tory MSP Murdo Fraser accurately.

MR Salmond cropped up in Wednesday’s Holyrood debate on freedom of information. The former FM was notoriously irked by FoI. LibDem Willie Rennie recalled it once took seven months for the government to admit taxpayers paid £259 for a pair of Eck’s tartan trews for a trip to China. Labour’s Neil Findlay was more interested in serious affairs. “I don’t really care much about Mr Salmond’s sartorial inelegance,” he sneered magnificently.

TALKING of FoI, a Holyrood committee recently invited campaigners to discuss the subject. True to form, dopey officials suggested the meeting take place in private and be un-minuted. They were soon put straight on transparency matters. Meanwhile, at another FoI meeting this week, Mr Findlay was dramatically called out of the room. Red-faced, he later admitted - full disclosure - that he'd accidentally pushed the panic button under his desk.

ANECDOTES galore at the PinkNews summer reception at Holyrood, starting with Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who recounted the dark early days of devolution. He recalled the Daily Mail had once branded him a “gay activist turned MSP” who outrageously “described himself as bisexual, enjoying relationship with both men and women”. Mr Harvie sighed. “If they’d written ‘hoping for’ it would at least have been accurate.”

LIBDEM Alex Cole-Hamilton, of Holyrood’s equality committee, was up next. He said he was still new to the parliament, so the Daily Mail had yet to form a view of him. “The only thing they’ve written about me was to say I looked like a solicitor and sound like a minor member of the Royal Family. But my mum says that that’s OK, because as a minor Royal I’d at least have a little bit more power than I ever will as a Liberal Democrat.”

AC-H also starred in a Holyrood magazine event on Thursday. Dress code was “cocktail”. AC-H was the only one in a tuxedo. Too many Bond movies and Vodka Martinis, we suspect. He then won the award for “most flushable motion” after using parliamentary resources to laud a local chipper for making “10th place in Just Eat’s highest ranked takeaways in Edinburgh”. Oddly, despite this stellar achievement, no other MSP would sign it.