MSPs discuss 'exoneration' of Wallace

DISCUSSIONS are taking place amongst MSPs regarding a pardon for the "wrongful" charge of treason laid against Sir William Wallace.

The request came ahead of the 700th anniversary of the death of the Scots revolutionary, who was executed in 1305.

Sandra White, an SNP MSP, said the Scottish Executive should ask Westminster to apologise for the act.

"I think an apology should be issued for the appalling way in which William Wallace was treated - hung, drawn and quartered - all those years ago," she told a meeting of Holyrood’s public petitions committee.

And the Tory MSP, John Scott, suggested a pardon would help strengthen the union between Scotland and England, given that Wallace’s execution still divides the two nations.

The comments came after a petition from an English-based Wallace fan, John Heselden, who wants MSPs "to acknowledge on public record that William Wallace was not guilty of the charge of treason laid before him".

His petition also urges them to make representations to the UK Parliament "for a declaration of his innocence and that he be exonerated of this charge".

Wallace was captured in August 1305 and taken to London, where he was executed.

Meanwhile, the SNP MSP Richard Lochhead has stepped up his fight to have the 700th anniversary officially marked.

The Executive has commissioned a Wallace website and is urging councils to take a lead.

But the North-east list MSP said ministers should do more to commemorate the historic anniversary.

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