Alex Salmond effigy ‘not a crime’ says CPS

One of the effigies of the First Minister created for the Lewes bonfire festival. Picture: Contributed

One of the effigies of the First Minister created for the Lewes bonfire festival. Picture: Contributed

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CREATING an effigy of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to be burned at the stake at a bonfire night in East Sussex was ‘not a crime’, the Crown Prosecution Service has ruled.

Police received a flood of complaints of ‘racism’ from his supporters after organisers in the Tory stronghold of Lewes built two 16ft tall dummies of the SNP leader.

Plans to burn one were dropped following the public outcry but a second effigy was later blown up.

Sussex police presented the complaints to the CPS, who decided whether any offence had been committed.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Effigies have long been a tradition at the annual event, with high-profile politicians and celebrities who have recently been in the news being featured in bonfire society processions.

“The event organisers have made it clear that there was no intention to cause insult to anyone or any particular country by the choice of effigy - simply that the person chosen has been a popular media figure in the preceding 12 months.”

Lewes stages the UK’s biggest bonfire night, and last year burned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Other victims have included David Cameron, Nick Clegg, German chancellor Angela Merkel and terror chief Osama Bin Laden.

Mr Salmond - who lead his party to defeat in the recent Scottish independence referendum - said after this year’s event: “I think their judgment is askew but if they think I’m a threat to the Westminster establishment like Guy Fawkes, they are right.

“I am used to insults from Tories in East Sussex and if they think that is a good thing to do it is up to them.”

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