Private school at centre of online abuse row claims pupils backed Yes but changed their mind

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A private boarding school at the centre of a row after an MP was subjected to online abuse following a BBC debate on independence has hit back at claims the audience were almost entirely made up of No supporters.

Strathallan private school has challenged claims that only almost all of the pupils who formed the audience on Brian Taylor’s Big Debate on Friday were opposed to independence. “A number went into the debate broadly in favour of independence but changed their minds during it.” the statement claimed.

The school has also issued a statement insisting pupils who posted offensive messages online calling MP Pete Wishart a “Gimp” and a “Yeswanker” will be made to apologise.

However, in a statement posted on the school website it claimed the pupils were responding to attacks they themselves had been subjected to, “they were upset by the attacks made upon them” the statement claimed.

The row followed Friday’s episode of the weekly radio programme that featured questions on Scottish independence.  SNP MP Pete Wishart became suspcious two thirds into the live broadcast when no questions appeared to support either independence or the SNP.

Asking for a show of hands from the 200 strong audience, it emerged only three were Yes supporters, something Mr Wishart immediately brought to the attention to listeners of the show.  Mr Wishart was jeered when he claimed that such a makeup was not at all surprising given Strathallan was a private boarding school.

Following the broadcast, the SNP MP was sent several abusive messages on Twitter.