ALEX Salmond has questioned Murray Foote’s claims the Vow was not responsible for the Yes side losing the independence referendum in September 2014.

The former First Minister welcomed Foote as “a new recruit to the independence cause” but disagreed with him over the impact of the pledge published on the front page of the Daily Record two days ahead of the historic vote.

READ MORE: Ex-Record editor says The Vow will be a stepping stone on path to Scotland’s independence

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As the Record’s editor Foote brought together the leaders of the three main pro-Union parties – David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, with an agreement to enhance the responsibilities for Holyrood if Scots voted to stay in the Union.

The move came after a poll in the Sunday Times put the Yes campaign ahead and this development prompted the pro-Union politicians to suggest Holyrood could be given more powers in the event of a No vote.

In an interview with The National Foote said his motivation for publishing the pledge was to ensure the politicians kept to their word. He added there was no evidence it lost the campaign for Yes which he believed failed because the economic case for independence was not strong enough.

Salmond said: “I warmly welcome Murray Foote as a new recruit to the independence cause but he heavily underrates the significance of the Vow which was a journalistic masterpiece but politically disabled Scotland at a crucial moment.

“It presented a No campaign then in total disarray with a rallying point in the final week of the 2014 referendum. The Daily Record provided an infinitely more credible vehicle than George Osborne and the Tory Government who first wanted to proffer the panicked promise of more powers.”

He continued: “The votes that drifted back to No in the final days of the campaign were mostly older Labour inclined voters to whom Gordon Brown and The Record still spoke to with some authority and of course offering people an apparently easier path can always be presented as attractive in a climate of fear mongering. It only needed to influence one in 20 of the population to swing the vote and I think it did just that.”

Foote – who announced earlier this month that he would back independence in a new referendum – also told The National he did not regret his decision to publish the Vow.

He said it did result in more powers for Holyrood, and pointing to the new income tax regime and social security system plans, he said the Vow was enabling the Scottish Government to govern in a fairer way than the Conservative Government in London. Ultimately, he said it would help pave the way to Scottish independence.

Asked if looking back in 50 years time, the Vow might be seen as a step towards independence, he said: “That’s exactly what it will be.”

And he went on: “My personal view is that [the Vow] will be looked upon as another stepping stone that allowed the current government to display a substantial change to the way Westminster governs Britain and Holyrood governs Scotland...

“We keep hearing the word compassionate from Jeane Freeman [the Health Secretary and former Social Security Minster] about the new benefit system and I hope that is the case,” he said.

“If [the Vow] saves some Scots the ignominy the dreadful rigours that are placed upon the most vulnerable in society … if that alleviates some of the misery, then it’s been a great thing.”

Salmond disagreed that the Vow had helped strengthen devolution.

He pointed to the dramatic events over the past few weeks when the UK Government imposed the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland with Holyrood consent – an unprecedented breach of constitutional convention.

During the debate no Scots MP was allowed to speak and the devolution aspect of the legislation was given less than 20 minutes for debate.

Salmond added: “As to its consequences. I would have thought that the last few weeks would have demonstrated that what Westminster offers it can just as easily take away.

“Thus I doubt if anyone in Scotland will be a soft touch for the soft option again.”

Foote responded: “Alex is fully entitled to hold that opinion but the balance of available evidence supports my opinion rather than his.”