Downfall: spoof SNP video costs Labour MP Tom Harris his job

A Labour MP and social media strategist has stepped down after posting a comedy video that appeared to compare First Minister Alex Salmond with Adolf Hitler.

A Labour MP and social media strategist has stepped down after posting a comedy video that appeared to compare First Minister Alex Salmond with Adolf Hitler.

Tom Harris, who came third in the Scottish Labour leadership race last year, had been given the role of carrying out a review of Labour’s online operations by new party chief Johann Lamont.

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Mr Harris has apologised for posting the video, which superimposed satirical subtitles referring to the SNP and Mr Salmond onto footage of actor Bruno Ganz playing the character of Hitler in German from the 2004 film Downfall.

The video was attacked as “tasteless” by the SNP. However, the same footage has been used to mock a number of well-known names in recent years, including former prime minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Harris’s particular version was entitled ‘Joan’s Downfall’, in reference to SNP MSP Joan McAlpine’s recent “anti-Scottish” Twitter jibe against her Labour and Liberal Democrat peers.

Mr Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South, said: “Having spoken to Johann, I have decided to step down from leading the party’s social media review.

“The video I posted has been a well worn joke used to parody a range of public figures.

“However, context is everything and in the context of Johann’s and my desire to improve the level of political debate on social media and the context of Joan McAlpine’s much more serious statements about all political opponents of the SNP being anti-Scottish, my actions have been an unhelpful distraction for which I apologise.”

A Scottish Labour spokesperson added: “Tom Harris did the decent thing after a lapse of judgment.

“It is about time that Joan McAlpine does the right thing and apologises for her much more serious error of judgment in saying that anyone who opposes the SNP is anti-Scottish.

“By her own logic, she must see that she regards the majority of Scots as anti-Scottish.

“If she doesn’t do the decent thing then Alex Salmond should sack her as ministerial aide.”

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Across Scotland people want a debate on independence and the options for Scotland’s future that focuses on the issue of how we can go about making Scotland better.

“It is silly, negative nonsense like this that helps explain why Labour are in the doldrums in Scotland.

“It is hugely embarrassing for Labour that one of their MPs and a leadership contender - who should have better things to do with his time - is promoting tasteless stuff like this through his official MP website.”