Scottish first minister Donald Dewar has asked one of his senior advisers to resign over allegations that he fabricated stories about health minister Susan Deacon receiving a death threat.

John Rafferty stepped down from his£79,000 a year post following rumours that he had fed false stories to the media about Ms Deacon being under police protection after speaking out against anti-abortionists in Scotland.

Opposition parties pointed the finger at Mr Rafferty, the former chair of Central Scotland trust, after Ms Deacon admitted the stories were not true.

Ms Deacon has taken a strong stand against Precious Life in Scotland, which recently demonstrated against a Brook Advisory clinic in Edinburgh.