Isles MP receives written apology after Westminster petition slur


by a Newsnet reporter

A Scottish MP who complained after a petition was published on an official House of Commons website calling for English rioters to “banished” to the Outer Hebrides has received a written apology for the slur.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil, received the apology from Leader of the House of Commons, Sir George Young MP, on behalf of the UK Government, following the listing of an e-petition which stated that rioters and looters involved in the troubles in English cities should be ‘banished’ to the Outer Hebrides for five years.

The petition described the scenic islands as having no “running water, electricity, decent food” and of lacking “culture”.  It said locals “look after sheep part-time” and would earn extra money “looking after rioters and looters as well”.

Mr MacNeil wrote to the UK Government asking why they considered it acceptable to post such a petition on an official site.  Yesterday he received a written apology from Sir George Young MP, the Minister responsible for the e-petitions site.

Welcoming the apology, Mr MacNeil said:

“I am pleased that Sir George has acted on the concerns that I raised and that revised guidance has been issued to all departmental moderators to reduce the risk of similar mistakes being made again.

“I am very grateful to Sir George, who is a true English gentleman in this response.  His apology is gracious and I am sure the people of the Western Isles accept it.”

No apology

Only last week UK PM David Cameron caused outrage after he implied that Scots who supported north sea oil revenues coming under the control of the Scottish parliament were “stupid”.  The PM, who uttered the insult in response to a question posed by Mr MacNeil, has thus far resisted calls for an apology.

David Cameron “stupid” remark


Last year the BBC found itself caught up in a row after comments made by panellists on the Radio Show ‘Any Questions’ appeared to insult Scots and the Scottish parliament.  The broadcaster refused to apologise after Douglas Murray and former BBC governess Ruth Deech made remarks that implied that Scots lived off benefits supplied by the English and had ‘Mickey Mouse’ politicians.

Hear Ruth Deech and Douglas Murray: