SNP Four Suspended For 2 Months

7 January 2015, 08:32

Four SNP councillors filmed setting fire to a copy of the Smith Commission report on new powers for Holyrood have been suspended from the party for two months.

Filmed outside Renfrewshire Council offices in Paisley at the start of December, the YouTube clip shows former council leader Brian Lawson and councillors Will Mylet and Mags MacLaren with copies of the report on further devolution for the Scottish Parliament.

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.''

 The original video was taken down but has been reposted by others.

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

All four were suspended by the SNP pending a disciplinary hearing on December 21. The party has now said the councillors have been suspended for two months, back dated to the start of December.

SNP National Secretary Patrick Grady said: "Following a disciplinary hearing at the end of December, the individuals concerned have been suspended from the party for two months until February 3.

"It has been made clear to all that their actions fell far short of the high standard of debate expected by both public and party. All four accept that this is the case and their suspension has been the penalty for that.''

Opposition leaders in Scotland had been demanding action from the SNP in the wake of the incident.

At the time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "not acceptable behaviour''.

The SNP had two representatives on the Smith Commission, which was set up by the UK Government to look at how to enhance the current devolved settlement, including Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

While nationalist leaders have said they believe the report does not go far enough, they have welcomed the new powers that should come to Scotland as a result of the deal.

When the online video clip emerged, Ms Sturgeon said: ''Many people are disappointed with the result of the referendum and the level of devolution recommended by the Smith Commission; however, Scotland will only make progress if we debate our views openly and with respect.

''It is essential that, in that debate, conduct does not fall short of the high standard that is rightly expected by the public. My clear view is that setting fire to something because you don't agree with it is not acceptable behaviour.''