YET more raised eyebrows in the SNP deputy leadership race over Ivan McKee, campaign manager for frontrunner Keith Brown. Despite having a Glasgow seat, Mr McKee has a striking interest in Aberdeen Donside. He has, uniquely, signed every parliamentary motion lodged by its Independent MSP, no matter how trivial. All of which helps rehabilitate the MSP in question: sex-row former minister and all-round pariah Mark McDonald. Nice company.

TORY spindoctor Eddie Barnes has been moonlighting as a theatre promoter, shamelessly plugging his pal’s latest show. News Hacks, by Watson’s Wind Up head writer Rikki Brown, is at Glasgow’s Oran Mor. It will, Eddie assures Unspun, take the mickey out of his boss Ruth Davidson. Sounds promising. Not that we’d ever dirty our hands in the promo biz, of course, even after being slipped those free tickets. It’s 8pm on Tuesday, by the way.

THE latest register of MPs’ interests features a lengthy entry from Christine Jardine. The Edinburgh LibDem declared more than £2200 of travel, accommodation and scoff on a trip to China last month. The jaunt was partly to “engage with Chinese Communist Officials on a broad range of topics”. Shortly after her inspiring trip, she argued for curbs on the UK press. Whether she got any top tips from the authorities in Beijing was left undeclared.

AFTER all the SNP-Tory fighting over Brexit legislation this week, it’s good to know some things transcend party divides. Like the bevvy. Nat Christina McKelvie emailed people on Tuesday about the “Scottish Gin and Spirits” reception she’s hosting at Holyrood next month. Quick as a flash, one Tory aide replied, accidentally copying in most of the parliament. “The event has been placed in the diary of Annie Wells MSP,” she panted. Such camaraderie.

APPARENTLY there’s a wedding on today. Not that you’d know it at Holyrood, where the monarchist strain is very subdued. When the engagement was announced in November, Ms Wells lodged a parliamentary motion congratulated the happy celebrities. Basically, only Tories signed it - except for Nat Richard Lyle. In honour of his royalism, he’s been dubbed King Richard. Although, funnily enough, his critics have called him one of those for years.

TORY MSP Peter Chapman insisted he was a model of transparency when he quit his rural affairs brief after forgetting to mention a £50,000 shareholding in a lobbying row. “It was not my intention to hide this: anyone can see the details [on my] register of interests,” he whined in his resignation letter. How times change. Last year, when Green Andy Wightman asked the craggy North East farmer about his EU subsidies, he fumed that it was a “totally inappropriate question” and called him a “nasty piece of work”. Charming.

RUSSIAN TV celebrity Alex Salmond was sharing his genius at an Edinburgh theatre on Thursday when one fan asked whether “we can pull a Catalonia sort of stunt” on a second referendum. Big Eckski quickly assured her Nicola Sturgeon had a “whole range of things in her box of political options”. Alas for the FM, a predecessor disposal unit is not among them.

NAT nerd John Mason was at it again this week, telling a disabled Celtic fan he could follow another club if it was too hard to access Celtic Park. As Mr Mason’s seat takes in Parkhead, you might expect him to back his local team. The former accountant then got dewy-eyed in a tax debate, telling MSPs of his “affection” for a property levy. Truly a man of the people.