Scottish Education Minister Mike Russell has come under fire for criticising the committee of legal academics appointed to investigate the possibility of Scottish independence from Great Britain.
Mr Russell attacked the work of the group which was organised by David Cameron's most senior legal advisor on Scottish law, Lord Wallace of Tankerness. In a scathing assault he described the work as 'farcical' and compared the group of academics, which includes six University professors and the president of the Law Society of Scotland, as a 'kangaroo court'.
Mr Russell has since retracted his comment referring to the kangaroo court, but added that he still believes the work completed by the group will be biased - presumably towards the Union.
The group of academics met last Wednesday to discuss a range of legal issues relating to the possible full independence of Scotland, something on which the governing SNP party believes it has a mandate to call a referendum.
Issues which must be considered before any potential vote are whether Scotland will retain the pound as its currency, and how fiscal policy would be set. The group also looked at whether Scotland would retain an independent membership of the EU.
Opposition MSPs were upset at the comments by Mr Russell which they believe are derogatory towards some of Scotland's leading legal experts:
"This is a slur on some of Scotland's most eminent law experts and not worthy of a Cabinet minister. Rather than trying to row back on his comment he should show some humility and apologise," said Jackson Carlaw, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
A spokesman for the Law Society of Scotland told the Telegraph:
"The Society is a strictly non-partisan organisation and is not taking a position either in favour for or against Scottish independence."
They added that the Law Society of Scotland would like to participate in any similar discussion group convened by the Scottish parliament.