“I met with Alex Salmond’s adviser today. He will call Hunt when we need him to.” (BBC)

If that’s not a potentially career-ending line then I don’t know what is.

There is little doubt that Rupert Murdoch has it in for David Cameron at the moment with sly pro-Indy digs on Twitter and considerably less sly front page digs at the Prime Minister’s Government in his tabloids. Rupert carries no such resentment towards the First Minister given Salmond has loyally, if foolhardily, stuck by his News International buddy. Of the little that I have seen ,the recent positive SNP coverage has been conspicuous. (I try not to look directly at The Sun, for health reasons).

The First Minister has denied the largely Lib Dem levelled allegations that there was a ‘quid pro quo’ deal done with Murdoch whereby the SNP gets an easy ride and News International gets something in return. It’s not the type of allegation that a politician would admit to without a fight and the Scottish media isn’t slow to pick up the scent when the SNP may have been wounded. No smoke without fire? Time will inevitably tell.

Even so, one has to wonder why this has all been worth the risk for the SNP. Rupert Murdoch is toxic right now with politicians, barge poles at the ready, doing all they can to stay away from him. Politicians except for Alex Salmond that is who had him round to Bute House for lunch as recently as February. The often childish mudslinging that has ensued isn’t completely lacking a point, who is the First Minister serving with this unseemly closeness? The Scottish public or the SNP? It’s difficult not to assume the latter with the referendum just over two years away.

Of course, the questioning from the opposition over Rupert Murdoch’s apparent favour for Salmond and the SNP may well backfire. The media mogul is after all preferring Salmond over the rest of them and, irrespective of what one may think of the hacking scandal, an endorsement of the First Minister from an intelligent and powerful man such as Rupert Murdoch carries plenty of weight. Sean Connery, no more.

Both sides insist that there was no deal and for as long as deniability remains in place, however conveniently constructed that may be, both sides may well get away with it but the scrutiny from opposition parties and investigative journalists is going to be intense and unless the quote above was incorrect or throwaway, I can’t see how it won’t prove to be career ending, though whose career remains to be seen.

Jeremy Hunt’s adviser resigned today, presumably in a bid to direct the flak away from the Minister, I suspect another such resignation will be close behind. A ‘shadow of sleaze’ surrounds this issue according to Ed Miliband, just how far north does it travel?