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Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 12:36 GMT
Swinney condemns mail scare
John Swinney
"SNLA are no nationalists," says John Swinney
The leader of the Scottish National Party, John Swinney, has condemned the sending of suspect packages to UK politicians as "pathetic".

He made his views known at the party's national council meeting in Perth on Saturday.

The MSP spoke after police revealed that up to 14 packages containing a dangerous chemical could have been sent to a number of MPs.

Note from one package
The contents were disguised as samples of an aromatherapy product
It is known that two were sent in the post to the prime minister's wife, Cherie Blair, and an unnamed Scottish politician.

And another was sent to a female assistant who works for north east of England-born MSP Mike Rumbles.

The package was addressed to the helper, who works at Mr Rumbles Banchory constituency in Aberdeenshire.

The parcels were intercepted after a man claiming to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA) made an anonymous phone call to Scotland Yard.

Mr Swinney said: "Every right-thinking person will unreservedly condemn this pathetic attack.

"These people have no interest in Scotland or the welfare of the Scottish people.

"They are not nationalists, they are criminals plain and simple.

High alert

"The nationalist movement in Scotland has been distinguished by its commitment to the democratic process throughout its history and so it will remain."

Ministers and political staff are being put on high alert as police fear they could be at risk of receiving further parcels containing a caustic substance disguised as aromatherapy oil.

Tommy Sheridan, Scottish Socialist leader
Tommy Sheridan: Disappointed
Tommy Sheridan, the leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, also condemned the mail scare.

He said: "I'm disappointed with these packages, it is no way forward as far as politics is concerned.

"Thankfully all the reports seem to indicate that nobody was in any danger and I am glad about that.

"But I think that sort of individual terror and inflicting individual fear has no place in politics."

Mr Sheridan added that such tactics would not be endorsed by the Scottish Socialist Party.

In the past the SNLA has made death threats towards the Royal Family and is thought to have been connected to hoax anthrax letters sent to St Andrews University where Prince William is studying.

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