A Scottish Labour MP has caused anger after accusing Scots who celebrate the battle of Bannockburn of doing so because hundreds of thousands of English people were murdered.
Glasgow MP Ian Davidson made the remark in a Westminster debate into the Scottish independence referendum, which saw the Scottish Parliament given powers to hold a legally binding ballot in 2014.
Speaking in the debate, the MP for Glasgow South West claimed that commemorations to be held on the 700th anniversary of the ancient battle, which led to Scotland achieving its independence, were being held mainly to celebrate “the murder of hundreds of thousands of English people”.
Mr Davidson also claimed that the independence referendum, to be held in 2014 was timed “to take place after the anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn, which is celebrated mainly because Scots slew large numbers of English people,”
The Labour MP described the commemoration and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games as an “opportunity to celebrate the politics of identity and ethnicity.”
Davidson’s attack on the commemoration of Bannockburn comes despite the UK government pledging over £50 million in order to commemorate the beginning of World War One. PM David Cameron has insisted the national events will be “like the diamond jubilee”, despite the great war leading to the deaths of millions of allies and Germans.
Mr Davidson’s comments were followed by a similar outburst by colleague Anas Sarwar who claimed that the Scottish parliament was not a “democratic place”.
The Labour MP, who is Johann Lamont’s immediate understudy, launched a personal attack on First Minister Alex Salmond and suggested that the 2011 Scottish election result was not democratic.
He said: “We have a majority SNP Government in the Scottish Parliament, but that is not a democratic place in the conventional sense; it is a dictatorship of one man sitting in Bute house, who will do not what is in Scotland’s interests, but what is in his own or his party’s interests.”
Mr Sarwar’s attack on the First Minister comes barely a week after Scottish Labour’s referendum campaign front man pledged to pursue a more positive campaign. Last week Mr Sarwar admitted that negative campaigning was not going to win over the Scottish electorate.
The outbursts from the two Labour MPs has brought furious reactions from many Scots on social media sites with many posters describing the comments from both Labour MPs as a disgrace.
One tweet said: “If I had any doubts about voting Yes in the #IndyRef those ScotLab MP’s removed all trace of it today…they are a disgrace!”
Others described Mr Davidson’s comments as “verging on defamatory” and “a stream of abuse”.
The behaviour of the two Scottish Labour MPs was in contrast to that of the SNP’s Angus Robertson, who praised opposition MPs for their role in helping deliver the Edinburgh Agreement.
Mr Robertson said the fact the agreement could be reached showed that both governments can work together.
He added: “I would like to pay tribute to the UK Government. I pay tribute to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Minister of State in the Scotland Office and their colleagues across government.
“Again perhaps surprisingly, I also pay tribute to the Labour Front-Bench team and the Opposition, both here and in the Scottish Parliament. I do so for the part they have all played in getting us this far.
“No doubt, the questions that have been raised will be pursued after the section 30 order is passed, and that is a good thing.
“We should all be proud to have reached this stage, and the House will not be surprised that SNP Members express our thanks to the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister and Bruce Crawford MSP for the leading parts they have played in securing the Edinburgh agreement.”
Angus Robertson speaking during the debate – courtesy of Moridura
The full debate can be read here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/241/#c241