STEWART Hosie's future at the head of the SNP's summer independence drive is uncertain after it emerged he was involved in a political love triangle.
An SNP source said that the party would have to look again at his prominent position within the campaign suggesting that Mr Hosie's involvement was now “likely” to cause problems.
Scottish Labour also questioned whether Mr Hosie could credibly persuade unconvinced voters about the virtues of independence amid revelations of an affair with a younger woman.
It follows news that Mr Hosie – the party's deputy leader – had an affair with political journalist Serena Cowdy and is now separated from his wife, health secretary Shona Robison.
Ms Cowdy, it was revealed, had previously had an affair with SNP MP Angus MacNeil.
The story, that broke yesterday, threatened to overshadow Nicola Sturgeon's appointment as First Minister.
In the wake of her election to lead the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon was asked if she retained confidence in Stewart Hosie's ability to lead the party's summer independence project and replied that the allegations against her deputy were a "private matter".
She did, however, add that his position as deputy leader of the SNP was one elected by party members.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Serena Cowdy – the women at the centre of the love triangle – has described herself as a "nut magnet" predicted that Scotland would someday become indepedent.
The 36-year-old, who is understood to have secured a job writing about UK politics in London after a brief career as an actress, wrote on a her own politics blog: "I predict that, one way or another, Scotland will be an independent country within the next 20 years."
In a separate posting she referred to herself as a "nut magnet".
And she said: "If there's someone who is in any way eccentric, unstable, drunk, on drugs, or otherwise misfiring socially, you can absolutely guarantee they will gravitate towards me in a public place."
Oxford-educated Ms Cowdy has also written blogs about dumping boyfriends and office affairs as part of a series of dating columns.
She reportedly told friends that she found SNP MPs to be romantic revolutionaries, describing them as 'the Mujahideen of British politicians'.
One SNP source said Mr Hosie’s role in charge of the campaign to win over No voters is now “likely to cause problems”, particularly given the struggle ahead the party had in 2014 vote to win over female voters to the cause.
“This is a job he sought out,” he added.
“Now, with the election over, the party will have to look at the mechanics of this again.
"We have to remember we’re trying to win people over, not irritate or alienate them.”
A Labour source said: "People will question whether Stewart Hosie can credibly lead the SNP's summer campaign for independence when he has been caught up in scandal like this."
It is understood the summer drive will seek to build on lessons learned from a post-mortem on what went wrong in 2014's independence campaign.
The SNP reportedly wants to develop its response to key questions – including what currency an independent Scotland would use.
Some of the party’s MPs are concerned that the support for independence seen in the run up to the referendum vote is waning.
Those fears have been heightened by the fact that the party did not win a majority at Holyrood in this month's Sottish elections.
One MP said: “We perhaps had our eye off the ball”.
Ms Sturgeon has insisted that the summer push, confirmed at the SNP's spring conference, is not an attempt to "rush anybody into another decision".
At the time the First MInister said while many Scots had "wanted to be persuaded" in 2014, they "ultimately didn't find our arguments compelling enough".
Mr Hosie had been expected to set up a working group involving other senior figures from the Yes movement.
The SNP confirmed that Mr Hosie and Ms Robison have separated and that their young daughter would continue to be their priority, but said no further comment would be made.
The pair had been married almost 20 years.