Murdoch's 'Let Scotland go and compete' tweet buoys Alex Salmond
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch appears to have hinted at support for Scottish independence on the social network service Twitter.
The tycoon, head of News Corporation, tweeted: "Let Scotland go and compete. Everyone would win."
It follows a tweet on Sunday in which he said: "Alex Salmond clearly most brilliant politician in UK. Gave Cameron back of his hand this week. Loved by Scots."
News Corporation is the parent company of News International, which runs The Sun and The Times newspapers. The Sun switched from outright opposition to the SNP before the 2007 election to support for the party at the election last May.
The Scottish Government last August published letters between Mr Salmond and Mr Murdoch which show attempts to bring Mr Murdoch to Scotland as the guest of honour at the Gathering, a cultural celebration intended as the centrepiece of the Year of Homecoming. The First Minister suggested it would be a great spectacle for coverage by Sky television.
An invitation was extended for Mr Murdoch to join Mr Salmond at a golf event in Kentucky in the US. In another letter, Mr Salmond offered the media tycoon tickets for a performance of the Black Watch play in Brooklyn. The letters came with a list of dates and names covering meetings held with editors, journalists and other executives stretching back to June 2007, shortly after the SNP first took office.
Mr Murdoch arrived in the UK last week to take charge of the latest crisis involving one of his titles following the arrest of journalists at The Sun. He announced that he will publish a new newspaper Sun on Sunday for the first time this weekend.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: "After Rupert Murdoch's crisis at News Corporation, it's the endorsement that every politician dreads. We need more than eight words from a troubled media tycoon to convince us that we should separate from the UK family."
A spokesman for the First Minister said: "Many people at home and abroad are expressing views on Scotland's future, and all contributions are welcome, including Mr Murdoch's.
"We believe that independence will be good for Scotland and good for England - a new relationship of equality between our two nations, with the Queen as our shared head of state. The First Minister has taken this positive message to people in England in a series of speeches in recent weeks and been receiving an extremely enthusiastic response."