BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 13:19 UK

Twitter abuse candidate Stuart MacLennan removed

Stuart MacLennan
Stuart MacLennan said he was very sorry for what he wrote

A Labour election candidate who cursed leading politicians, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg, on his Twitter page has been removed from standing.

Stuart MacLennan will no longer be the party's Moray candidate and has been suspended as a Labour member after admitting tweeting offensive comments.

Labour initially backed him to remain as a candidate, but later dropped him after opposition calls for him to go.

Mr MacLennan said he was sorry and admitted he had been "very stupid".

He had reportedly described the elderly as "coffin dodgers" on his Twitter page and posted a series of foul-mouthed rants about politicians.

Brian Taylor
Brian Taylor
Political editor

Labour dithered about sacking him - but have now dispensed with his contribution to this election. Good riddance.

In their statement, Labour invited their rivals to do the same, should comparable circumstances arise.

That goes without saying - and indeed should have gone without being said.

Simple contrition would have sufficed on this particular occasion - rather than an attempt to implicate others, however much Labour may feel members of other parties are similarly intemperate in spouting noxious, anonymous bile on the web.

Labour had said Mr MacLennan's comments were made a year ago when he was a student, although the BBC understands he posted offensive remarks as late as 31 March, this year.

Labour dropped Mr MacLennan in light of the "totally unacceptable" language - a move which was "strongly supported" by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

A Scottish Labour Party spokesman, said: "On reading the comments in full, the Scottish Labour Party was outraged by their content, and Scottish Labour's general secretary took the decision to suspend his membership of the Labour Party.

"Stuart MacLennan is no longer a Labour Party candidate nor eligible to hold office as a Labour Party representative."

In a statement, Mr MacLennan said: "I am very sorry. I have been very stupid and rightly paid a high price."

[Criticising taste of Fairtrade organic banana] Can I have a slave-grown, chemically enhanced, genetically modified one please?
My gosh I've got a proper chav sitting opposite me this evening
You know I think I might be completely sober for the first time in 4 days
Lots of chavs at Stirling station

Even shortly before news of his removal was announced, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy had said Mr MacLennan would continue to be the candidate.

Mr Murphy later said the party was left with no option, after it became aware of all the Twitter comments.

Mr MacLennan has been suspended from his non-salaried intern post with the Labour group at Holyrood pending "further inquiries".

Reacting to the decision, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said of the incident: "It was repugnant, insulting and totally in character with Labour's desperate and dirty campaign."

Brian Taylor

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, the party's candidate in Moray, added: "This incident has completely devastated Labour's campaign launch today - but questions must be asked as many of these comments have been online for months, and presumably Labour colleagues have been well aware of them."

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats' Scottish affairs spokesman, said: "The Labour Party has been forced to sack a candidate who was clearly young and inexperienced.

"This whole debacle only demonstrates the weakness of Labour in Scotland."

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