Councillors Re-Elected After Smith Fire

Four SNP councillors filmed setting fire to a copy of the Smith Report on new powers for Holyrood have been re-elected to top posts in their local branch following a two-month suspension.

Former Renfrewshire Council leader Brian Lawson and councillors Will Mylet and Mags MacLaren were filmed outside the council headquarters with copies of the report on further devolution for the Scottish Parliament.

Kenny MacLaren, who was a researcher for SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, is also said to have been involved, although he is not seen in the video clip.

As they set fire to a copy above a bin, Mr Mylet said: "The Smith Commission report - this is exactly what we think about it.

"No real powers for Scotland yet again from Westminster. We've been lied to again. There you go Gordon Brown - cheers.''

Mr Lawson has now been re-elected as Renfrewshire SNP group leader, Mr MacLaren is group secretary, Ms MacLaren is treasurer and Mr Mylet is the group press officer.

An SNP spokesman said: "The individuals concerned were suspended from the party for two months following a disciplinary hearing at the end of last year and returned to the SNP group last month.

"Group office bearer positions are elected at the AGM each year, and group members decided to re-elect those councillors to executive positions. That's entirely a matter for members of the group.''

Douglas Alexander, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, said: "Just weeks after publicly burning a report on the steps of the council headquarters, people will be shocked that Brian Lawson is now SNP leader in Renfrewshire. It seems that this kind of conduct is a cause for promotion in Nicola Sturgeon's SNP.

"What kind of message does it send when the SNP promotes someone who takes part in these shameful stunts?

"There will now be serious questions about why this sort of conduct is rewarded within the party.

"It did a deep disservice to the political debate we are having here in Scotland. Discussion and debate is the lifeblood of our democracy, but publicly torching documents they disagree with has no place in a modern society.''

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