A pro-independence blogger who lost his bid to sue former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale for defamation will have his appeal heard by the country’s highest civil court next month.
Stuart Campbell, who runs the Wings Over Scotland blog, sued Ms Dugdale for defamation last year over a column she wrote in the Daily Record on March 7 2017, referencing his “homophobic tweets”.
The tweet at the centre of the £25,000 action, made during the Conservative Party conference on March 3 that year, said: “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner.”
Mr Campbell, of Bath, Somerset sued Ms Dugdale for defamation but his claim was thrown out by Sheriff Nigel Ross at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Ross said that while Ms Dugdale had defamed the blogger and was incorrect to imply he was homophobic, her comments were an expression of personal opinion and therefore protected under the principle of fair comment.
Sheriff Ross also said that had he ruled in Mr Campbell’s favour he would only have awarded him £1 in damages rather than the £25,000 he was seeking.
Mr Campbell was ordered to pay Ms Dugdale’s legal expenses in July last year.
He lodged an appeal against the original decision in September and a procedural hearing took place at the Court of Session on January 31.
A substantive hearing has now been scheduled for March 24.
Attacks on SNP
Launched in 2011, Wings Over Scotland is a popular but controversial pro-independence blog.
But it has becoming increasingly critical of SNP leadership in recent weeks.
Mr Campbell even threatened to start up his own pro-independence party to contest list seats in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
And last week he accused the SNP chiefs of pursuing an independence strategy that had “failed utterly”.
In a lengthy post published on Friday he said he intends to take a two-month break from the website and suggested he may shut it down completely in April if Nicola Sturgeon is still in charge of the SNP.