Scotland

Timeline: Where did the Campbell Gunn row start?

  • 12 June 2014
  • From the section Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond has defended his special adviser Campbell Gunn, who has been at the centre of a row over the attack on a pro-Union supporting mother-of-two.

Opposition parties called for Mr Gunn to resign after he sent an email to The Telegraph pointing out that "ordinary" Better Together backer Clare Lally was closely involved with the Labour Party.

He also said, incorrectly, that she was the daughter-in-law of former Glasgow provost Pat Lally.

But where did the story start and what role did social media play?

This timeline details the main steps.

1. Monday, June 9 - Clare Lally at the rally

It's 100 days to go until the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September and the media reports on the milestone. Yes Scotland and Better Together both host events to mark the day. The pro-Union movement holds a rally in Glasgow in which mother-of-two Clare Lally speaks on stage about being an ordinary Scot who wants to see the UK kept together.

2. Tuesday, June 10 - Pro-independence website story

At just before 10am on June 10, the pro-independence Wings Over Scotland website publishes a report headlined "Voters less ordinary". Writer Stuart Campbell highlights a Times newspaper piece of the Better Together 100-days rally. He goes on to question the "ordinariness" of Clare Lally and says: "The odds of her being the same Claire Lally who's the daughter-in-law of former Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow Pat Lally and has a husband called Derek must be astronomically high." The posting receives 498 comments.

3. Tuesday, June 10 - Lally tweets

As well as its story, Wings Over Scotland's twitter handle, @WingsScotland, sends out a series of tweets, a number of which show Clare Lally with high-profile Labour Party politicians, including UK leader Ed Miliband and Scottish leader Johann Lamont. The tweets are re-tweeted and a conversation begins on social media.

4. Tuesday, 10 June - Campbell Gunn email

The Daily Telegraph receives an email from Alex Salmond's special adviser Campbell Gunn, dated 10 June and sent at 10:53am. It reads: "You are no doubt aware that the 'mother-of-two', who described herself as 'just a normal person' in the Telegraph today is actually a member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet and daughter-in-law of former Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow Pat Lally....."

5. Wednesday, 11 June - The Daily Telegraph story

The Daily Telegraph uses the Campbell Gunn email as the basis of its story on 11 June headlined: "Alex Salmond's office implicated in 'smear' attack on mother who spoke up for the Union." Its Scottish Political Editor Simon Johnson writes: "One of the First Minister's spin doctors emails the Telegraph questioning whether Claire Lally is a 'normal' mother as she is subjected to a barrage of online abuse from the so-called Cybernats."

6. Thursday, 12 June - Calls for Gunn to go

First Minister Alex Salmond takes part in his weekly questions exchange at parliament with opposition party leaders. Johann Lamont for Labour; Ruth Davidson for the Tories and Willie Rennie for the Lib Dems calling for special adviser Campbell Gunn to go. Mr Salmond rejects their calls and says former journalist Mr Gunn had apologised for his error.