NICOLA Sturgeon’s re-election as First Minister was overshadowed yesterday by allegations that two senior married SNP MPs had affairs with the same woman.
The party’s deputy leader Stewart Hosie, 53, and Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, 45, have allegedly each had a relationship with journalist Serena Cowdy, 36.
The First Minister did not broach the issue as she was formally re-elected as First Minister at Holyrood.
She was flanked by Shona Robison, Mr Hosie’s estranged wife and a close friend of the First Minister, underlining the dilemma which the situation poses for working relations within the party.
Mr Hosie is a hugely influential figure in the party after being elected deputy leader in 2014 and has been placed in charge of the summer drive which the SNP will launch to revive its campaign for Scottish independence.
Mr MacNeil and Mr Hosie both announced recently that they were separating from their wives.
It was reported that there was no overlap in the affairs which the two men had with the journalist.
Mr MacNeil’s relationship is understood to have taken place during the independence referendum campaign.
Ms Cowdy is an Oxford-educated former actress who has also worked as a TV presenter and is currently a political journalist with Parliament’s The House magazine.
An acquaintance of Ms Cowdy reportedly said yesterday: “Serena is from London and went to Oxford, but since starting work in Parliament has never stopped going on about the SNP being like the Mujahideen.
“She was having an affair with Angus MacNeil during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.
“Now she’s with Stewart Hosie and has been for some time and it’s very serious.
“I heard things had been difficult between Stewart and Angus because they’d both had the same girlfriend and that there have been cross words between them.”
Mr Hosie and Ms Robison announced on Sunday that they were separating. Mr MacNeil announced his separation from his wife, Jane, last year, not long after his affair with Ms Cowdy is alleged to have ended.
An SNP spokesman said of Mr Hosie and Miss Robison: “Stewart and Shona have separated. They have a young daughter, and she will continue to be their priority.
“Both parties have asked that their privacy is respected during this difficult time.
“No further comment will be given.”
It is latest problem for Ms Sturgeon to deal with from the party’s Westminster MPs who swept to victory in all but three of Scotland’s 59 UK constituencies in last year’s general election.
The original group of 56 Nationalist MPs was reduced after two resigned the party whip.
Michelle Thomson, the Edinburgh West MP, stood down from the party after it emerged that police were investigating a lawyer who brokered deals for her property firm.
Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry also quit the SNP whip after police began investigating claims of missing cash from the Women for Independence movement. She denies any wrongdoing.