Monday May 15th 2017
The election stalls in Jarnac Court, Dalkeith, prior to the SNP protest
Following the article in Midlothian View (SNP activists reported to the Police) reporting that the Conservative election candidate had reported SNP activists to the Police for threatening and intimidating behaviour towards the Conservative campaign, Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian and North Musselburgh, has branded it fake news.
Mr Beattie told Midlothian View
“The Tory letter to the police is quite simply manufactured “fake news.”
“There was a perfectly legitimate silent protest over the brutal Tory “rape clause” which the Tory activists disliked. This took place next to their gazebo in a clear public area.
“The policewoman who is mentioned arrived when objections were raised by parents of children being photographed by Tory activists. She ensured they deleted all such images.
“Yes, the whole event was filmed to ensure no accusations were made which could not be proven.
“I’m afraid the Tories are simply seeking publicity based on a manufactured incident which can be easily disproved.
“Gutter politics, which I expect the press to disregard and give no publicity to, as we seek to eliminate the clutter of fake news which is so damaging the press and social media.”
Midlothian SNP candidate Owen Thompson, who is standing for re-election, replied similarly, saying
“I should point out it [the letter to the Police] is wildly inaccurate as there was no intimidation in any shape or form, at least from SNP members.”
Both Mr Beattie and Mr Thompson were asked by Midlothian View to confirm the length of the protest as it is reported to have lasted for three hours, which would seem excessive given there are only a limited number of Saturdays for all parties to campaign on thereby reducing the time for the Conservative team to engage with the public.
They were also asked to confirm what the children were doing to cause the Conservative team to photograph them. It is reported the children were with the SNP team and were filming the protests.
Both Mr Beattie and Mr Thompson have declined to reply.
Conservative candidate Chris Donnelly last night told Midlothian View:
“Owen Thompson has been quite reasonable about this and we are satisfied that there won’t be a repeat. Our letter was not to accuse, but to ensure public safety at future events.
“I look forward to the rest of the campaign returning to a friendly and constructive affair and as far as we are concerned this matter is now behind us.”
There is a noticeable change of tone from the Conservative candidate compared to his letter to the Police and there is an unconfirmed report that Owen Thompson has apologised to the Conservative candidate.
Addendum 15/05/17 10:51 Owen Thompson has contacted Midlothian View to say
“I see there are unconfirmed reports I apologised. I can confirm I’ve not as I see nothing to apologise for.”Tweet Share on Facebook