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There's no fool like an old fool; Love-cheat Nat dumped by his young girlfriend.

Byline: ANNIE BROWN Exclusive

THE blonde mistress of former SNP chief executive Mike Russell has dumped him.

Eilidh Bateman told Russell, 49, that their relationship was over, less than 10 days after he announced that he had walked out on his wife Cathleen.

The 28-year-old researcher, more than two decades younger than her former lover, was said to be shocked when Russell left his wife of 23 years for what she saw as a "fling".

Last night, a friend said that Eilidh had felt bulldozed by Russell's decision to confirm their affair in public.

The friend said: "Whatever went on between Eilidh and Mike, there is no doubt he took it much more seriously than she did. He bounced her into making their relationship public.

"To her it was probably just a fling and I think she was quite shocked when Mike announced that he was leaving his wife for her.

"Now she has had time to think, it is all over.

"They are no longer a couple. I doubt if Eilidh ever really wanted it to get this far, certainly not this quickly and publicly."

Russell had issued a public statement on the relationship on May 25, only two weeks after the affair had started. In a terse statement, he said: "I want to confirm that I have separated from my wife."

Cathleen, a teacher, and the couple's 15-year-old son Caillean were both said to be devastated when he moved out of their converted farmhouse near Colintraive, in Argyllshire.

Eilidh, the daughter of BBC Good Morning Scotland presenter Derek Bateman, was a researcher for Russell and MSP Irene McGugan.

The two politicians shared an office in the Scottish Parliament building in the Mound, in Edinburgh.

Both of them lost their Holyrood seats at the May elections.

A friend said: "Eilidh developed a crush on Mike and they got together but she's a young pretty girl and she certainly didn't see them going off into the sunset together."

At the time, friends predicted the relationship would be shortlived, dismissing it as a symptom of the SNP chief's mid- life crisis.

Russell had been said to have been "acting strangely" by buying a convertible sports car two weeks before the election and showing it off to party colleagues. The first clue that there was an affair came when Russell started taking Eilidh to his constituency office in Ayr for no professional reason.

Eilidh, who has written for the Scots Language Society in the past, had joined his staff about a year ago.

Russell's career took off in 1994 when he became the SNP's chief executive and election campaign director.

He is said to be distraught that the affair is over but is also trying to open up channels of communication with Cathleen.

Last night, Russell refused to comment.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 5, 2003
Words:467
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