SNP Member Suspended Over Abuse

19 March 2015, 13:14 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

An SNP member has been suspended from the party after directing foul-mouthed homophobic abuse at Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson on Twitter.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the abuse during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, and confirmed the individual responsible has been identified and suspended from membership.

The abuse, which is littered with expletives attacking Ms Davidson's sexuality, was posted on the Twitter profile Laird O'Callaghan, under the username @SparkyBhoyHH.

Speaking at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted to take the opportunity to "condemn unreservedly the vile homophobic abuse that was being directed at Ruth Davidson on Twitter last night and this morning''.

She told MSPs: "The individual in question in that case has been identified and this morning suspended from membership of the SNP pending full disciplinary processes.''

The abuse was met with almost universal criticism by Twitter users from across the political spectrum and Scottish society.

SNP international development minister Humza Yousaf said: "Utterly disgraceful. Will investigate if member. Personally will push for expulsion. Zero-tolerance homophobia.''

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, an SNP member and prominent independence supporter, said Police Scotland should "pay him a visit''.

He said: ``That was a vile attack. Homophobia, sectarianism, racism, no difference - you should never have to put up with it.''

Twitter users have published a name and photograph of a man they have identified as O'Callaghan.

In response, O'Callaghan said: "Boohoo, support the woman that hates Scotland and supported no. She is a gobby Tory. She is well off, she hates working class, she loves (David) Cameron.''

In a statement, Ms Davidson said: "I'm not the only politician who gets abuse online.

"I've previously condemned those who have racially abused Humza Yousaf as well as the torrents of sexism and misogyny aimed at the First Minister.

"A significant proportion of the abuse I receive is homophobic, and I make a point of calling out a selection of such tweets every few weeks.

"It's important for me that young LGBT people can see that such abuse doesn't have to be borne.

"It's not OK. People don't have to just sit there and take it. You are allowed to challenge it.

"It is heartening to me that so many people online agree that challenging someone's politics is healthy but abusing them for their race, colour, gender, sexuality or other area of themselves is simply unacceptable.''