Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

St Andrews Tory students apologise to President Obama

US President Barack Obama
Image caption The university said burning the President Obama effigy was "naive and crassly insensitive"

The Conservative Association at the University of St Andrews is to write to US President Barack Obama to apologise after an effigy of him was burned.

The incident is understood to have taken place on Friday evening on the Fife town's East Sands beach.

A statement from St Andrews University called it "naive and crassly insensitive".

It said the the president of the Conservative Association had been quick to make an unreserved public apology.

A spokesman for St Andrews University confirmed that no further disciplinary action would be taken against the students involved or the president of the Conservative Association.

The statement said the university was satisfied that the action was "not intentionally racist".

It said: "This incident however has caused very understandable offence and concern to many people and the university deeply regrets this.

"The University of St Andrews holds a firm belief in the value of political debate and free expression, but we expect our students to always treat others with respect.

"The burning of any figure in effigy is an act of violence and intolerance and has no place in our modern, international university."

Matthew Marshall, president of the St Andrews Conservative Association, issued an apology in which he said it was "undoubtedly a stupid act".

He added: "The US and President Obama are important allies of the United Kingdom and on behalf of the whole association I apologise unreservedly.

"I apologise further for any damage this has done to the reputation of the University of St Andrews, or the Scottish Conservative Party."

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