Scottish Labour MP under pressure to resign after claims he threatened a female MP

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By a Newsnet reporter

A Scottish Labour MP is facing calls to resign after claims that he threatened a female SNP politician.

Ian Davidson, the MP for Glasgow South West, is alleged to have told the SNP’s Dr Eilidh Whiteford that she would be “getting a doing” if details of a private meeting were leaked to the media.

Dr Whiteford, who represents the Banff and Buchan constituency, claims the Labour MP made the threat during meeting of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday 19 October.

Dr Whiteford also claims that the Labour MP approached her later to assure her that his remarks were not intended as a sexual threat.  Newsnet Scotland also understands that at least one other member of the committee passed a note to Mr Davidson regarding the appropriateness of his remarks.

The female MP has now withdrawn her membership of the committee until Mr Davidson resigns as chairman, a formal complaint has also been lodged with the Commons speaker.

Commenting on her decision, Dr Whiteford said:

“Threats and intimidation of this nature are unacceptable under any circumstances.  It is never appropriate to threaten to give a woman ‘a doing’.”

“If people in my position are not prepared to stand up against aggressive and threatening behaviour, then people who face this kind of conduct in their homes and workplaces will continue to think the perpetrators can get away with it.”

“I do not believe this behaviour is compatible with the position of Chair of a Select Committee, and therefore I have withdrawn from the Committee while Mr Davidson remains in his role as chair.”

A Labour spokesman said: “We will look carefully at these allegations and will make a full statement tomorrow.” Mr Davidson has been unavailable for comment.

Controversial

A controversial figure, Davidson’s behaviour has caused outrage on several occasions.

In 2007 he once brought howls of laughter from Labour and Tory MPs when shouting “who cares” when the SNP’s Angus Robertson asked a question in the Commons chamber.

In 2009, Davidson complained that new expenses rules, brought in after the expenses scandal, would leave him out of pocket.  The Labour MP said that he wished he had a larger mortgage on his London flat so that he could claim more in allowances.

In the four years up to 2007-08 Davidson, who has strong union links, claimed £87,699 – only £30 below the £87,729 maximum allowed. He also used £5,500 of public cash to pay a friend to carry out some renovating work at his flat  – he later took the same friend shooting at an annual Commons v Lords competition.

The ‘class warrior’ who is a shooting enthusiast also once joked that “Come the revolution, riflemen will be required.”

More recently the Labour MP was urged by his own party to apologise after he described the SNP as “neo-fascist” when speaking in the House of Commons.

Ian Davidson was one of the few Labour MPs who wished to stand for the new Scottish parliament in 1999 and was disappointed when he was rejected in favour of more suitable candidates.  Last week Davidson announced he was joining the race for the deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

Ian Davidson claims SNP are Neo-Fascist