'The Scotsman' staff turn on publisher Andrew Neil

Journalists on The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday have passed a motion of no confidence in their anti-devolution publisher, Andrew Neil.

The two Edinburgh-based newspapers will see 17 jobs lost and a merger of departments into a seven-day operation under Mr Neil's blueprint. Protests among the staff have led to 130 members of staff expressing their lack of confidence in their publisher.

At a meeting called by the National Union of Journalists, staff accused Mr Neil of mismanagement and called on him to resign. Paul Holleran, the NUJ's Scottish organiser, said: "This is one in a long line of decisions that have damaged the titles in Scotland."

"Given that The Scotsman is held up as one of the most important publications in the Scottish political and business community, there are serious concerns about the quality of the content," he said.

Under Mr Neil's plan, the magazines, features, business and picture desks of the two newspapers would be merged. Some staff suspect that this is the forerunner to a complete seven-day operation.

The owners of the titles, the Barclay brothers, brought in Mr Neil – who has held many high-profile newspaper positions – shortly after they bought the titles in 1995. Circulation in the past year has fallen from 93,000 to 76,000.

Some commentators have pointed to the paper's new anti-liberal and often anti-public service agenda as one reason for the fall in circulation, as well as the fact that Mr Neil's anti-devolutionary stance may have jarred with some readers.

Mr Neil said last night that he would not be commenting on the NUJ motion and was busy running the company.

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