AN AIDE to Alex Salmond has defended comments she made accusing Labour and the Lib Dems of behaving in an “anti-Scottish” manner.
Nationalist MSP Joan McAlpine wrote on Twitter: “Interfering in referendum is anti-Scottish as is refusal to compromise on popular desire 4 powers to Scotland.”
She later insisted that her remarks were not a criticism of any individual, but were instead aimed at the leadership of the unionist parties.
Scotsman columnist Ms McAlpine said she was shocked by Labour MPs congratulating the Tory-led government for intervening in Scotland over the timing of the referendum.
She said: “They have been lining up in cahoots with the Tories. They have been lining up to congratulate the Tories for intervening into Scottish democracy and I will let the people of Scotland draw their own conclusions from that.
“I was criticising behaviour, I wasn’t criticising people. People from all sorts of political backgrounds can be proud Scots. The issue here is the behaviour of the anti-independence parties coming together to seek to stop Scotland having a referendum at a time of our choosing.
“I’m not attacking any individual person.” She instead insisted that she was “describing the behaviour of parties in lining up with a very unpopular Tory government to interfere in Scottish democracy.
“I was talking about the leadership of Labour, the Liberal Democrat and Tory parties.”
However, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Anas Sarwar, said that in attacking the leadership of the unionist parties, she was singling him out.
Mr Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, called on Mr Salmond to remove the SNP MSP from her role as an aide to the First Minister. He said: “It is outrageously offensive to suggest someone is anti-Scottish just because you disagree with them. She must apologise to the Scottish Parliament and Alex Salmond should sack her.”
“What is being questioned is my commitment and my love for my country, the country I was born and brought up in, the country my children are growing up in, the country my grandfather came to in 1939 with nothing and made a life for himself and his family.
“I think this is really serious. I want Joan McAlpine to tell me straight, yes or no, if she says the leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland is anti-Scottish, does that include me, Anas Sarwar, the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Am I anti-Scottish, yes or no?”