Davidson apology over MP remarks

b The Labour Party believes Mr Davidson has been the subject of "dirty tricks"

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And so Labour's Ian Davidson has apologised for his obiter dicta aimed at the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford in the Scottish affairs committee at Westminster.

Or, more precisely, he has apologised for "any offence that might have been caused". Mr Davidson, who chairs the committee, resolutely denies issuing any threats.

So what was said? Or not said? Or allegedly said?

It is suggested Mr Davidson indicated, in private session, that Ms Whiteford would be in receipt of a "doing" if she leaked committee deliberations.

There were initial efforts to clarify the issue by insisting that the comment had not been made in a sexual context.

Then it was said on Mr Davidson's behalf that there was no threat implicit or explicit in any comment made.

Unaccountably, Ms Whiteford seemed to feel that these clarifications were - how can one put it - rather less than clear. She withdrew from the committee's deliberations, seeking redress.

At Holyrood, her party leader went further. Alex Salmond said that Mr Davidson should step down from the convenership of the committee.

At the opening of the committee's session this afternoon, Mr Davidson duly issued his apology.

Critics of the SNP say that the controversy is designed to undermine the committee - whose workload includes an inquiry into "Scottish separation".

Drivel, responds the SNP. This is about dealing with the treatment of an individual by another, of a female by a male.

Critics say further that the complaint took some time to emerge.

Ms Whiteford says she raised it - privately - with the committee clerk the morning after the incident occurred.

After trundling through official channels, it has now come into the spotlight.

'Smear the chair'

And there's more.....

Labour has now urged an inquiry into what they believe is a "dirty tricks" campaign mounted by the SNP.

They say there has been a "deliberate attempt to smear the chair of the committee which brings politics into disrepute".

Houses of Parliament The row erupted following an alleged remark at a select committee session

How so? They say that Mr Davidson has made clear that he issued no threat nor intended to threaten anyone.

They say that position was endorsed at this afternoon's meeting by MPs from other parties.

Further, they emphasise the point that there was a gap between alleged incident and the complaint emerging.

If, they say, there was an insult or a threat issued at the committee, why was that not raised immediately - at the committee?

Mr Davidson, they say, merely offered an apology today in the event that anyone had inadvertently - and wrongly - taken offence.

The background, say Mr Davidson's supporters, is the decision to hold an inquiry into independence or separation, as the committee calls it.

Those same supporters say that several members of the committee - where Eilidh Whiteford is the sole Nationalist - were upset at what they believed had been premature disclosure of the committee's plans.

According to this version, several members chided her in relatively robust - but, they say, fair - terms.

Still according to this version, Mr Davidson then summed up to the effect that Dr Whiteford had had a "doing" from her colleagues - and it was time to move on.

Past tense demotic. Not future tense threatening. Labour's official verdict is that it is "never right to threaten a person - and it is never right to smear one either".

The Nationalists say Dr Whiteford stands by her complaint and will not be rejoining the committee for now.

Brian Taylor Article written by Brian Taylor Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

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  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Quote from BBC article "Labour takes committee 'doing' complaint seriously" published October 26, 2011 11:20

    "A member of the committee, who was present at the meeting, told the BBC that they "do remember" the phrase Ms Whiteford quoted being used."

    The article has been edited 5 times and no linger has this piece of information in it.

    BBC staff stop being silly, please behave yourselves !

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    RE My 129

    Referred comment was a quote from the original BBC Davidson article, Tim Reid also tweeted it. It's in his tweet feed.

    My polite point it.

    BBC should report in an impartial way and report all the facts. Mr T left out vital information regarding a witness who heard Mr Davidsons remarks.

    We are entitled to the full story and I am entitled to a reason for my referred comment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    The original report from the BBC stated

    "A member of the committee, who was present at the meeting, told the BBC that they "do remember" the phrase Ms Whiteford quoted being used."

    An impartial political editor should have included it.

    Why did you not include it Mr T?

    Why was it removed from the report?


  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    I heard Mr Davidson on GMS yesterday, and he was less than convincing and I was pleased that Dr Whiteford pointed out to the interviewer that his behaviour was not a matter for her to justify or explain. Inquiry into SNP dirty tricks, that's the oldest one in the book, turn the blame onto the victim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    From "Blether with Brian.
    ...deliberate attempt to smear the chair of the committee which brings politics into disrepute". "

    I couldn't agree more...! This committee, and it's current chairman, certainly does bring politics into disrepute... It is also, in my opinion, acting outwith it's remit!

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Dr Whiteford was absolutely correct in challenging this type of bullying behaviour, and I am shocked that at this entrusted level of Government, no one else challenged this behaviour,what does that say about some of our elected officials. As for the neo nazi comments, is this what we the Scottish electorate honestly wanting to represent us .

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    (Contd) As I said above the term "giving ( or getting) a doing " can mean something or nothing depending on the circumstances .

    PS "Sorry, you can only post a comment to this article once every 600 seconds " Acht honestly !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    @Kennepity:- " I'm sure it was not one of intended physical violence or of sexual abuse but a threat nonetheless"

    I don't know where the sexual aspect has come from unless it's in the SNP members mind but "giving someone a doing " was never sexual . As for those commenting on what might have been said it is impossible to give an opinion until the actual context is known .(contd)

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Trying to be objective, looking at the past records of the two people involved and taking account of staff and the one other members verification then this was clearly a threat by Davidson. I'm sure it was not one of intended physical violence or of sexual abuse but a threat nonetheless. An abusive threat of more verbal abuse and therefore unacceptable.Davidson must step down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    My post at 46 still in mod
    "Brian, Please tell my I am wrong. The general gist of your article seems to be that you accept that Mr Davidson's actions can be justified and that Dr Whiteford should not have upset the peace and tranquility of the Scottish Affairs Committee by complaining. I used to be an avid follower of your blog but I have now moved to ****** Scotland for a more balanced debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    Mr Davidson is a representative of The Labour Party. The image that he projects is one of bullying, misogynism and brutish arrogance and ignorance.

    I am certain that this is not what Labour MPs such as Harriet Harman, Diane Abbott, Margaret Curren, Cathy Jamieson, Anne McGuire, Gemma Doyle and Fiona O'Donnell stand for and I look forward to their active and public condemnation of his actions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Mr Davidson is sadly the identikit Scottish Labour politician - out of touch and out of ideas. Time has passed these dinosaurs by in Scotland - though clearly not at Westminster, but it seems that they won't be able to recognise the SNP as a legitimate opponent until it is too late. If this is the group that are placed front and centre of any campaign to keep the Union, Independence is inevitable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Davidson is the personification of malignant unionism.He probably thinks his treatment of Dr Whiteford will endear him to those fellow unionists who dole out seats in the house of lords.Scottish labour politicians are particularly fond of this reward.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Latest MORI subset shows highest certain to vote (Westminster) yet for the SNP at 60%. Small sample, but trend continues. Running average (certain to vote, all polls and subsets) Scots Westminster intention (with change relative to 2010 GE) as of 27-10-11:

    SNP = 47.4% (+27.5)
    Lab = 26.8% (-15.2)
    Con = 16.5% (-0.2)
    Lib = 6.4% (-12.5)

    MPs predicted:
    SNP = 52
    Lab = 6
    Lib = 1
    Con = 0

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Anyone tried commenting on Mark D'Arcy blog on this very issue?

    Or should I call it a Labour press release?


  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Regarding Mr Davidson"s remarks to Dr Whiteford, what I would like to
    know is = what was said at that "closed meeting" of the Scotland
    Bill Committee", that prompted Davidson to make that threat to
    Dr Whiteford, that if she talked to the media she"d "get a doing"

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    Ahhhhh.... the good Doctor should just have taken "doing" as banter I am sure John Terry has told Rio Ferdinand his alleged comments were just banter. How dare people feel so easily threatened or offended.
    Oh the BANTER!

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Did you write this Brian or a Labour spin doctor?
    For others on here.... go home & say to the women in your family,*I will give you a doing" and see how they react.
    If a woman or man walked into a Police station and claimed they were assaulted 2 weeks previously, should we not take them seriously because of a time lapse or because others did not hear or see it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    This started on the BBC as

    " Labour takes committee 'doing' complaint seriously"

    It's been edited and is now

    "Labour MP Ian Davidson says sorry to select committee"

    Is this to suit Labour??


    Bad journalism, write a follow up and stop burying the truth please!

    BBC is obliged to be impartial!


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