Leaders Condemn Egg Attack

Prime Minister David Cameron has said people who throw things at politicians should have no place in the democratic process.

Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy was pelted with eggs by a Yes supporter in Kirkcaldy, Fife, yesterday during his 100 Towns in 100 Days tour for Better Together.

Mr Cameron made the comments as he visited Royal Navy supplier MacTaggart Scott's marine engineering workshop in Loanhead, Midlothian.

The PM said: "I think the responsibility for the people doing these things lies with the people doing these things.

"I've always thought that it isn't right to throw eggs at people - I had one myself in Cornwall once, it's an interesting experience - and I'm sure other party leaders would take the same view.

"It's a vigorous debate with lots of argument, there's nothing wrong with a bit of heckling but throwing things isn't necessarily part of the democratic process.''

He also commented on claims made to him by companies over the Scottish Government's response to firms that have come out in favour of keeping the United Kingdom together.

"I think it's good that companies are speaking out,'' he said. "I think some of them have been cautious about speaking out because there have been slightly aggressive tactics.

"That's what I hear, I don't have direct evidence, but a number of businesses have said to me that they are worried about speaking out because you get shouted at down the telephone.''

He added: "You do hear a lot of business say that they are frightened of speaking out, because they say that they find the way the Scottish Government behaves can be rather bullying and overbearing.

"I think if that's true it's very regrettable, and I think people should be free to speak out. Certainly businesses that speak out in the other direction haven't had threatening telephone calls from me.''

First Minister Alex Salmond also condemned the egg throwing incident.

And he said a "road rage'' incident, where he was tailed by another motorist waving a No sign at him, was a "very bad example'' of what could happen in political campaigns.

But he said no responsible politician should seek to take advantage of such protests, as he insisted that the overwhelming majority of Scots were "enjoying the most invigorating, scintillating, exciting debate in our political history''.

After independence campaigners staged a noisy protest outside a Glasgow hotel where Mr Cameron was speaking last night, Mr Salmond stressed the "right of peaceful protest'', adding that people were "entitled to demonstrate outside a white tie function, the only safe audience the Prime Minister thinks he has in Scotland''.

While he said people had "every entitlement to peaceful protest'' he stated: "People shouldn't throw eggs at somebody full stop, that's something that happens in elections. I remember John Prescott getting a bit energised about it in a UK election. It shouldn't happen - I don't think it's at the serious end of things - but it shouldn't happen.

"The road rage incident was a very bad example but I don't make that an issue. I don't make the death threats from a few daft people I've had an issue, because I know know 99.9% of people in Scotland are enjoying and being energised by a wonderful political debate.

"All politicians should beware, yes of course we call for good conduct, on line and off line, yes of course we do. But don't confuse the actions of a few people with the 99.9% of the people of Scotland who are enjoying the most invigorating, scintillating, exciting debate in our political history.

"And don't try to take advantage of an incident, because I certainly wouldn't, and I'm sure no other responsible politician would want to do that.''

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