Today's Sunday Mail
EXCLUSIVE Proclaimer dumps Alex over business cash
By Brian Lironi, Political Editor
PROCLAIMERS star Charlie Reid has dumped the SNP in protest at their links to big business.
Charlie and twin Craig - at No 1 with Comic Relief single I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - were Alex Salmond's biggest celebrity backers after Sir Sean Connery.
The defection to the SSP is a crushing blow for the Nats just a month before the Holyrood election on May 3.
It will stun supporters and spark a new debate about the SNP's controversial funding from anti-gay campaigner and Stagecoach founder Brian Souter.
Charlie, 45, said he had already given the SSP a donation but brother Craig will continue to support Alex Salmond's party.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mail, Charlie, who first shot to fame with Letter From America, said: "I'm changing my allegiance from the SNP to the SSP.
"I still have a lot of respect for people like Alex Salmond, Kenny McAskill and Nicola Sturgeon and I think they will form the government after the election.
"But I think they are placing too much emphasis on courting big business.
"For that reason, I'll be voting for the SSP at the election.
"I think it's important to have a party in the parliament with left wing principles prepared to stand up to big business."
Charlie has already met SSP leader Colin Fox and sent a cheque to boost party coffers. The pair first met in February at a demo to campaign for better sports facilities for kids.
Charlie and Craig are hugely popular figures in SNP circles but Salmond has spent a lot of time and effort wooing big business.
He has received the backing of influential figures including former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir George Mathewson - and donations of £100,000 from Sir Tom Farmer and £500,000 from tycoon Souter.
But he has been criticized for taking the money from from Souter, who led the campaign against the repeal of anti-gay law Clause 28.
SSP leader Fox said: "I'm delighted Charlie has now chosen to give his public backing to us."
An SNP spokesman pointed out that they had just enlisted the support of singer Sandi Thom.
He added: "The SNP have growing support among Scotland's arts community, as we do across Scottish society."