SNP MP says Russia tried to '˜exploit' Indyref

A senior Scottish National Party MP has written that he believes there is evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to '˜exploit' the divisions of the 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence.

Stewart McDonald, who is the party’s Defence Spokesman at Westminster, wrote in the Times that there is a ‘prima faice’ case that the Russian President sought to destablise the West through movements such as that for independence.

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The Glasgow South MP, who has been one of the most prominent critics of the decision of Alex Salmond to continue working for Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today, was writing amid continued concerns about Russian interference in politics in the wake of the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury, Kent.

Stewart McDonald MP. Picture: John DevlinStewart McDonald MP. Picture: John Devlin
Stewart McDonald MP. Picture: John Devlin
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There have also been concerns raised about the presence of fellow state broadcast Sputnik news, which has opened a base in Edinburgh.

Mr McDonald wrote: “We must not be blind to the fact that there is a prima facie case that Russia has sought to exploit Scottish independence as part of a wider push to destabilise western institutions.”

The MP insisted that an independent Scotland would stand up to Russia and wrote on Twitter that if Scotland were an independent country at the time of the Salisbury attack, they would still have backed Theresa May’s stance.

There have been signs of a split on the Russian issue among the independence movement, with some SNP party members reluctant to back the UK Government’s version of events.