Scottish Change UK candidate had pledged to ‘kill’ intruders

A European election candidate in Scotland who quit Change UK to endorse the Lib Dems once claimed that householders should be allowed to “kill” intruders who enter their property, The Scotsman can reveal.

East Renfrewshire councillor David Macdonald
East Renfrewshire councillor David Macdonald

David Macdonald, an independent councillor in East Renfrewshire, made the controversial statement on Facebook as part of a hypothetical discussion on how he would react if a burglar entered his home.

In a lengthy post, Mr Macdonald said he would do whatever it took to “neutralise the situation”. He added that it was “pathetic” that the legal system would “not back you up if you kill someone in the act of defending yourself within your property”.

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Mr Macdonald was until yesterday Change UK’s lead candidate in Scotland for next week’s European Parliament elections.

He has instead endorsed the Lib Dems but stopped short of joining the party. His name will still appear on ballot papers as a Change UK candidate as it was too late for it to be removed.

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament alongside the Lib Dems’ Holyrood leader Willie Rennie, Mr Macdonald claimed said the numbers “don’t look good” for Change UK in Scotland, and that voters should instead back the “fundamentally similar” platform of the Lib Dems.

It is the second time Change UK has lost its lead candidate north of the Border. Last month, Joseph Russo stood down after claiming he was “not fully prepared” for the “personal scrutiny” he faced after “offensive” online posts were revealed.

Mr Macdonald’s decision to endorse the Lib Dems will raise further questions about how Change UK vetted its candidates.

In a comment posted on 5 April, 2018, the councillor said: “I’ll make a very open statement. If someone crosses my threshold and forces entry then they would be met with any and all force I deem necessary to neutralise the situation.

“Take that for what you will but if they come in armed with a knife or other weapon they will be met with equal or greater force. There is no way I’d sit there and allow them to harm my family or myself and if that meant fighting to save their lives either to my death or resulting in me going to jail then so be it.

“But the UK is extraordinarily weak in law on this front. The reality is that law will not back you up if you kill someone in the act of defending yourself within your property. It’s utterly pathetic. In sharp contrast the law in many states is quite clear – break into someone’s house and be prepared to be killed. The law will back you up to the hilt.”

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The Scotsman understands the comment was in relation to the story of Henry Vincent, an armed burglar who was killed by Richard Osborn-Brooks after breaking into his London home in April 2018.

An inquest later ruled that Mr Osborn-Brooks had acted lawfully.

The Scotsman asked the Lib Dems if the party supported Mr Macdonald’s views, but a spokeswoman said it was “not relevant to the European election for which he has endorsed us”.

They added as he was not a party member so they would not comment further.

Mr Macdonald was returned as an independent for the Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood ward in 2017.

Paul Masteron, Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, commented following the councillor’s defection: “I assume Mr MacDonald, who was elected as an independent, and has spent two years demanding party politics be removed from local government, will now be stepping down and fighting a by-election in his new colours?”

Mr Macdonald failed to respond to requests for comment.