Breaking the ranks

party discipline has been at the heart of the SNP’s electoral success in recent years. So it came as a shock when a row broke out in Nationalist ranks over gay marriage.

Glasgow Shettleston MSP John Mason lodged a motion stating that no organisation or individual should be forced into approve of or be involved in same sex marriage in any forthcoming legislation, with the government undertaking a consultation.

It prompted a backlash from within the party, as both MEP Alyn Smith and MP Pete Wishart openly criticised the motion. The episode took a further twist when Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, one of those who had backed Mason’s motion at Holyrood, claimed that he had been the victim of an internet hate campaign as a result of his support.