SNP official quits over Charles Kennedy online abuse
AN SNP official has resigned after an online campaign against the late Charles Kennedy in the run-up to the general election.
Brian Smith, who was convener of the SNP Skye and Lochalsh branch, posted abusive messages about the former Liberal Democrat leader on Twitter.
He described Mr Kennedy, whose funeral takes place today, as a “quisling” and a “drunken slob” in the tweets and sent more than 130 of them, the Daily Mail reported.
Mr Kennedy lost his seat in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency to the SNP’s Ian Blackford in last month’s general election.
News of Mr Smith’s resignation emerged as Mr Kennedy’s funeral was due to take place near his Highland home.
The father of one died suddenly at his home on June 1 at the age of 55. He had suffered a major haemorrhage as a result of a long battle with alcoholism.
An SNP spokesman said: “Mr Smith was spoken to and accepts that his comments during the campaign were entirely inappropriate - as a result, he has resigned as convener of the Skye and Lochalsh branch.”
He said Mr Smith has never been been employed by Mr Blackford in any capacity and added: “Today is a day to remember Charles Kennedy with respect and dignity.”
Mr Smith’s Twitter account @lobsterferret has now been deleted.
Mr Kennedy was an MP since 1983, and his leadership of the Lib Dems from August 1999 to January 2006 saw the party enjoy its greatest electoral success in 2005, winning 62 seats.
Following his death, tributes for the former party leader poured in from across the political spectrum, with former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron among those expressing their sadness.