Scotland politics

SNP councillors burning Smith Commission report branded 'offensive'

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Media captionThe video was uploaded to YouTube but later removed

A video showing SNP councillors burning a copy of the Smith Commission report on Scottish devolution has been branded "offensive" by political opponents.

The stunt, filmed outside Renfrewshire Council's headquarters, was posted on YouTube but later removed.

Opposition parties criticised those involved and called for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to "react swiftly".

Senior Scottish government minister Alex Neill said the video was a "silly prank" but "hardly a hanging offence".

The video, which was reposted on YouTube, featured elected Renfrewshire members Brian Lawson, Will Mylet and Mags MacLaren.

They staged the burning after the report, which set out a list of new powers to be handed from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, was published last week.

The cross-party commission, which included the SNP, was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the independence referendum "No" vote, but Scottish ministers said its final recommendations fell short of delivering the powers Scotland needed.

As the councillors set fire to a document above a bin, Mr Mylet said: "The Smith Commission report - this is exactly what we think about it.

"No real powers for Scotland yet again from Westminster. We've been lied to again."

As he dropped it into the bin he added: "There you go Gordon Brown - cheers."

Mr Lawson then said: "Happy St Andrew's Day."

'Inappropriate stunts'

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Neil, who is Scotland's social justice secretary, said: "The people involved have already withdrawn this from YouTube and recognised the mistake they've made.

"It's a silly prank. I would hardly call it a hanging offence.

"I don't see how you can correlate a silly prank by a handful of individuals in Paisley with the overall strategy of the Scottish government and the SNP.

"John Swinney (Scotland's deputy first minister) and the first minister have made it absolutely clear we are very committed to taking forward the Smith process."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "I would expect Nicola Sturgeon to react swiftly to this silly and offensive nonsense.

"What these SNP councillors fail to understand is that they are condemning a report that their own party endorsed - they are clearly still progressing through the five stages of grief after the referendum."

"This is a test for Nicola Sturgeon's leadership. Will she tolerate this or send a strong signal to her members that there must be no more inappropriate stunts like this?"

Scottish Labour's interim leader, Anas Sarwar, said: "This is disgusting and disrespectful behaviour from three SNP councillors.

"Scots will rightly be disturbed that public representatives feel they can go around burning documents, even ones which their party signed up to."

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