Labour party claims that Alex Salmond ‘hid’ from their leader Iain Gray in a supermarket were called into question today after a video showed the Labour front man hurrying out of the Asda store.
The Labour campaign team had turned up at the Ardrossan supermarket unexpectedly on Tuesday evening as the First Minister was carrying out a scheduled campaign visit.
The Labour group went to the toilet and then left claiming they had no idea that Alex Salmond was in the store and if they had known then they would have confronted the First Minister. They claimed that Iain Gray spent time talking to members of the public face to face at a meeting.
Iain Gray said: “If I’d have known Alex Salmond was there, I’d have gone up and asked him why he is hiding his date for an independence referendum. Sadly he was kept well hidden until I’d left.”
However Labour’s claims not to have been aware of the First Minister’s visit were challenged by the SNP team who pointed out that there was a considerable media presence with numerous cameramen in attendance.
SNP candidate for Cunninghame North Kenny Gibson said: “There was neither hide nor hair of Iain Gray when Alex arrived and he stayed long after Iain Gray’s fleeting appearance talking to staff and customers.
“Iain Gray turned tail just like he ran away from the Glasgow grannies at Central Station.”
The SNP campaign team described Labour’s claims as “complete fiction” and produced a video showing Mr Gray leaving the store as an onlooker asks him: “Are you not going to hang about?” and Mr Gray responding that he had only popped in “for a coffee”.
SNP Campaign manager Angus Robertson said: “This footage makes an absolute mockery of the claims in a Labour press release issued this morning and raises serious questions about the negativity, dirty tricks and misinformation at the heart of Labour’s ‘re-launched’ campaign.”
The Labour leader’s campaign suffered a blow two weeks ago when he was filmed fleeing from a small group of protestors at Glasgow Central train station. This latest incident will have done little to repair Mr Gray’s already badly damaged reputation and suspicions are growing that the incident was a pre-arranged stunt by Labour in an attempt at damaging the SNP campaign.