Police have launched an investigation after video footage emerged of a pro-independence supporter shouting abuse at Conservative canvassers on the campaign trail, including taunts of “You’re not welcome in Scotland”.
The scenes have been branded “unacceptable” by senior Conservatives, who said it was carried out by “SNP activists” and called on party leader Nicola Sturgeon to take action.
Last night police confirmed that they were looking into the incident, which has been shared widely on social media.
The footage was taken in Cowie, Stirlingshire on Thursday night when national campaigning was still informally suspended in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing.
It was posted by Lorna Taylor, a well-known pro-independence campaigner in the area. It was shot inside a car as Mrs Taylor and a companion followed Conservative activists around the streets as they campaigned on foot, heckling them. The video lasts almost four minutes.
A voice is heard saying: “Get out of Cowie, get out of Bannockburn, get out of Scotland – you’re not welcome.”
Mrs Taylor, who is driving, tells the campaigners she will be following them all around their canvassing route. “Run away, get out this is Tory-free Bannockburn. Tories are not welcome – now move.”
Ms Taylor is co-organiser of the Freedom Convoy, a prominent Yes campaign group with hundreds of members. It was among the groups which joined widespread protests outside the BBC headquarters during the referendum campaign in 2014, amid claims from senior Nationalists including then-first minister Alex Salmond of an anti-independence bias in the corporation’s coverage of the campaign.
The video was posted on social media by Tory candidate in Stirling Stephen Kerr, who claimed members of his campaign team “routinely endure” such treatment.
Mrs Taylor campaigned for Steven Paterson prior to his victory in Stirling in the 2015 election, and has been pictured posing with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Salmond.
Conservative Edinburgh South West candidate Miles Briggs called on the First Minister to intervene in the case.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP cannot simply ignore or try to wash their hands of the unacceptable actions of her former MPs and party members.”
Last night Ms Sturgeon refused to comment.
A spokesman for the SNP said: “She [the activist] has been spoken to and reminded that political arguments should be made with courtesy and respect.”
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “It doesn’t matter the colour of the rosette, activists are the lifeblood of our democracy. This person isn’t representative of them.
“Volunteers should be allowed to make their case without threats or abuse. We are very proud of our team for not reacting and quietly getting on with their job.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police in Forth Valley are investigating following a report of anti-social behaviour in the Cowie area. The incident was reported to police on Friday, 26 May. Inquiries are ongoing.”
Officers have also appealed for witnesses to come forward.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that a controversial Tory councillor in Renfrewshire has been axed from a key role after leading trade unions threatened a boycott.
Neill Graham previously apologised after it emerged he shared material from Protestant Pride Groups. Unison, Unite and GMB, which represent thousands of council staff, warned they would withdraw co-operation with the Joint Consultative Board for non-teaching staff, unless Mr Graham was replaced.