Neil Findlay accused of ‘sexism’ over Nicola Sturgeon tweet

Labour MSP Neil Findlay. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Labour MSP Neil Findlay. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A senior Scottish Labour MSP has been criticised for sending a ‘sexist’ tweet aimed at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Neil Findlay hit out with the late-night posting after seeming to rile the SNP leader during yesterday’s debate on a second referendum.

The Lothians politician tweeted a moving image “gif” directed at the First Minister that was a clip from the cartoon film “Dumbo” showing a large elephant’s backside.

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This was seemingly in reference to a moment earlier in the debate when Mr Findlay said he would give way to the First Minister if she could clear up her stance on Parliamentary sovereignty.

To shouts of “come on, tell us” from Labour MSPs, Ms Sturgeon declined to stand up and intervene on Neil Findlay’s speech.

Mr Findlay was lauded for his contribution online, with a former Labour MP calling it ‘brilliant stuff’ and one journalist calling the First Minister ‘unusually subdued’.

The tweet by Mr Findlay, a one-time leadership challenger and the campaign co-ordinator for Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland, was accompanied by the caption “C’mon Nicola get up of (sic) your seat and tell us about the will of Parliament.”

The tweet was seized on by commentators online, with former Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick writing: “Neil you are better than this. This is appalling and crass,” before tweeting Labour leader Kezia Dugdale asking her to condemn the post.

Among the dozens of Twitter users criticising Mr Findlay was senior Women for Independence campaigner Kate Caskie, who called Mr Findlay “The Fred Flinstone of Scottish Politics”.

One user, Katherine Sanders wrote asking if the “Sexist and childish abuse about the FM” was acceptable and urging Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson to condemn the ‘joke’.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Neil’s tweet was a reference to his speech in the Scottish Parliament in which he challenged the First Minister to get off her seat in the chamber and explain why ‘the will of parliament’ only applies to votes the SNP wins.

“The SNP government has been defeated on five key votes since the last election – including over hospital closures, fracking and the Football Act. The First Minister cannot pick and choose when the will of parliament applies.”

Christina Mckelvie MSP of the SNP said:

“This crass, sexist and childish tweet is completely inappropriate coming from an MSP, and is an embarrassment for Kezia Dugdale. Mr Findlay should remove the post and offer a sincere apology, and not before time.”