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Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK

UK: Scotland

Connery 'stabbed in the back'

Connery gave the campaign his Hollywood touch

Former Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson personally asked SNP supporter Sean Connery to rescue the Scottish devolution campaign, it has been claimed.

Mr Mandelson wanted the actor to rejuvenate the campaign in September 1997 after it was overshadowed by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The comments have been made at the Edinburgh International Book Festival by Alan Taylor, the biographer of SNP leader Alex Salmond.

[ image: Peter Mandelson: Wanted glamour]
Peter Mandelson: Wanted glamour
Connery and Mr Salmond are still bitter about Labour's treatment of the star, who was refused a knighthood.

Mr Taylor, whose book is due out next year, said Salmond felt Connery was "stabbed in the back".

He told the festival audience: "Peter Mandelson approached Sean Connery and asked him to come to Scotland and get the whole thing going.

"That is the reason why Sean Connery and Alex Salmond and others in the SNP are so aggrieved about the treatment of Sean Connery.

"When he was asked to help he did help, and then they stabbed him in the back."

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