General Election 2015

Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Let the voters decide’ if SNP candidate Neil Hay is fit for parliament

Neil Hay, SNP candidate for Edinburgh South, whose comments on Twitter have caused some to question whether he is fit for office. Image: SNP Edinburgh South

Neil Hay, SNP candidate for Edinburgh South, whose comments on Twitter have caused some to question whether he is fit for office. Image: SNP Edinburgh South

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon has condemned comments made on Twitter by SNP candidate for Edinburgh South, Neil Hay, describing Scottish unionists as ‘quislings’ (Nazi supporters) and mocking elderly voters as barely being able to remember their name.

Responding to pressure from Labour to sack Mr Hay, Ms Sturgeon said at First Minister’s Questions:

I do condemn the language used and I condemn the comments made, as I always do when anybody steps out of line on Twitter, Facebook or any medium. Neil Hay has rightly apologised. I think given that we face a General Election two weeks today, it is now up to the voters to decide.

Mr Hay made the comments under the anonymous Twitter account, Paco McSheepie, in October and June 2012.

Though SNP sources claimed it was an old account, Mr Hay only removed it on Tuesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Hay apologised, saying that the ‘old Tweets were poorly chosen’ and that they are not how he would express himself now.

Labour, the Conservatives, and the Lib Dems all questioned Mr Hay’s fitness for public office, but Labour went further, pressing Ms Sturgeon to sack him.

Deputy Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Mr Hay had been exposed as an ‘anonymous troll who described the majority of Scots as traitors’ and had been ‘categorically challenging the right of pensioners to vote’.

Speaking at a rally in Edinburgh, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy agreed and said:

I know we’re past the deadline for nominations but someone with these views – their name doesn’t belong on the ballot paper and they don’t belong to any sensible mainstream party.

In constituency polls released on Tuesday, Mr Hay was ahead of Labour by three percentage points. 

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