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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 12:57 GMT
Post staff suffer Section 28 backlash

Souter Section 28 campaign montage Brian Souter's involvement sparked a large debate

Post staff have been issued with protective clothing because of items sent to the campaign to keep Section 28 backed by millionaire Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter.

The Royal Mail has confirmed a number of offensive items have been sent to the campaign's freepost address in Perth.

It is sad that the staff should face dangers in this way when they are just trying to go around their day to day work
Royal Mail spokesman
Several have burst open while being handled. The material is believed to include used condoms, hypodermic needles and excrement.

A spokesman said: "Although only two or three such items a day are being received, even one is too many."

'Highly irresponsible'

Staff at the office in Perth, which is the nearest to Mr Souter's home, have been issued with protective gloves.

The spokesman criticised the people who had been sending the mail as "highly irresponsible".

Mail sacks Some of the packages have burst open
He said: "Freepost is a service offered by Royal Mail and staff have no part to play in any campaign, they are just doing their job sorting mail.

"It is sad that the staff should face dangers in this way when they are just trying to go around their day to day work."

A campaign spokesman indicated the offensive mail was coming from England and said he was "appalled".

Financial support

"It reflects the desperation of some of our opponents and the lengths to which they will go to stop us winning this battle."

Tayside Police are investigating the source of the post items.

Mr Souter pledged a sum - reported to be up to 500,000 - to bankroll the campaign to retain the law which prevents the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities.

His involvement sparked the major debate which has raged in Scotland and is now prominent in Westminster politics

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See also:
14 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Millionaire funds anti-gay law campaign
08 Feb 00 |  Scotland
Parliament ready for Section 28 debate
08 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
New talks after Section 28 defeat

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