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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Sir Sean denies fall out with SNP
Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean's spokesman says the actor is still committed to the SNP
Sir Sean Connery denied he had distanced himself from the Scottish National Party by removing its logo from his official website.

The Scots actor said the changes to his site were "purely technical".

Sir Sean has been the Nationalists' most high-profile supporter and has donated thousands to party funds.

But James Baron, the actor's spokesman, said his support for the party, and his interest in the current leadership election, remained as strong as ever.

He said: "Even for the silly season this is a particularly stupid story.

"The changes to Sir Sean's website were purely technical and took place six months ago.

"The truth is that, in common with every SNP supporter, Sir Sean has been galvanised and enthused by the excitement being generated by the SNP leadership campaign."

Strong SNP

SNP leadership contender Mike Russell asked fellow contestant, Alex Salmond, if he could shed light on the website changes.

Mr Russell told BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Live programme: "I have worked with Sean in the past and he has been a strong supporter.

"Alex is the one who has been using his name at every hustings, and I think Alex has to say what is going on there."

Mike Russell
Mike Russell says he wants answers
And Mr Russell said the development would make no difference to the battle in which he, Mr Salmond and Roseanna Cunningham are fighting for the SNP leadership.

He added: "I think he (Connery) does a lot of good (for the party), but it's a contest in which 8,000 members will make their decision."

Mr Salmond, who is a close friend of Sir Sean, later dismissed Mr Russell's claims.

He said: "I have not mentioned Sean at a single hustings. Mike must be going to different meetings."

Meanwhile, Scottish actress and television star Elaine C Smith has given public backing to the joint ticket of Mr Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, who is seeking the deputy leadership.

'Change for better'

She said: "I think that the combination of Alex leading around the country and Nicola in the Scottish Parliament will be great news not just for the SNP but for Scotland.

"I am no party hack and prefer to support political ideals and people across progressive politics.

"However, like most folk, I realise that this nation needs a strong SNP and I am convinced that we will become an independent country.

"It is vital that we get some of the verve and vision back into Scottish politics. We have had a poor time politically since 1999.

"However, I sense a change for the better coming and Nicola and Alex can surf that new tide."


SEE ALSO:
Actor Connery to write life story
04 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
Sir Sean backs Tartan Day plans
02 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Connery in first Scotch promotion
21 Jan 04  |  Business
Sir Sean's voice to lift Holyrood
14 Sep 03  |  Scotland


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