Head-butts, Nazis and ‘sham’ campaigns: The scandals linked to the SNP firebrands who could be MPs

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is warned that the ‘fresh blood’ nationalists expected to win Scottish seats could ‘run riot’ in Westminster

One has fantasised about head-butting opponents. Another has compared pro-union supporters to Nazis and a third is alleged to have promoted a bogus Labour campaign group.

Meet the SNP candidates who are expected to be taking their seats in the House of Commons after the General Election after the nationalists were predicted to win every seat in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has been warned that an SNP clean sweep would mean some “unknown firebrands” would be among the new MPs, some of whom could “run riot” in Westminster.

Sources said the influx of new blood could leave Ms Sturgeon “vulnerable” if they caused “mischief” – despite party attempts to maintain a tight leash with strict new disciplinary procedures.

SNP veteran Jim Sillars has even called for all prospective MPs to stop using Twitter in order to keep them out of trouble.

It comes after prospective MP Mhairi Black got into trouble over tweets she failed to delete upon becoming a candidate.

The Partick Thistle supporter once tweeted: “I’ve only just realised – I really f***** hate Celtic” and “Celtic, yer a joke!#scum”.

On another occasion she posted a boozy confession, saying: “Woke up beside half a can of Tennents and a full pizza and more money than I came out with. I call that a success!”

The Glasgow University student, who is to take her final exams in politics after the election, is poised to become the youngest MP in Westminster, aged 20.

She is expected to defeat shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander in what had been the safe Labour seat of Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

She was also caught on camera last October during a speech in Glasgow, in which she admitted she struggled to stop herself head-butting Labour councillors who she claimed had goaded Yes voters in the aftermath of the referendum.

“It took every fibre in my being not to put the nut on every one of them,” she could be heard saying.

Repeated calls for Ms Sturgeon to sack the student as a candidate have been ignored.

Elsewhere on Twitter, Edinburgh South candidate Neil Hay was exposed as having used a pseudonym on the social network to compare No voters in the referendum to “Quislings” – or Nazi collaborators.

He also said that elderly voters barely knew their own names.

Ms Sturgeon has stood by her candidate, insisting he had learned his lesson and that she could not have been “any firmer” in disciplining him.

Midlothian challenger Owen Thompson was exposed in 2013 for his apparent involvement in an alleged front organisation – named Labour for Independence.

The SNP councillor was pictured with two other SNP members with a banner for the group, which was aimed at encouraging Labour supporters to vote for independence.

The Scottish Labour Party responded by releasing a photograph featuring the SNP faithful. The party’s deputy leader Anas Sarwar branded the group a “sham” and “SNP front” which had attempted to “give a false impression”.

Other controversies including SNP candidates included Dunfermline and West Fife hopeful Douglas Chapman’s ill-judged remarks about former SNP MSP Bill Walker, who was jailed in 2013 for wife-beating.

Calls were made for Mr Chapman to apologise after he appeared to excuse Mr Walker’s actions, reportedly saying that “the moral code was very different” at the time of his actions.

Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars told The Telegraph the new Westminster parliamentary group would have to be “extremely disciplined” once they get there.

He defended Miss Black’s comments on social media, saying she was “a young girl” at the time. He also described the revelations about her wanting to “put the nut” on someone as “Labour nonsense”.

He said: “Mhairi Black did not put the head on anyone, she restrained herself.”

Mr Sillars added: “Mind you I’d give this advice to practising politicians. I would never say a word on Twitter if I were them because it has brought down so many from all parties.

“My view is that it would be sensible for people running for office to close down their Twitter account – of all parties by the way, not just the SNP because the history of Twitter is full of people in political positions getting themselves into trouble.”

Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson predicted there would be a “period of retrenchment” while the new MPs settle into Westminster.

“Yes, they are fresh and inexperienced and so forth,” he said.

“But the other side of it is they bring a very considerable energy – of a positive nature – new ideas, and it’s an infusion of fresh blood and fresh talent into the party. The party is stronger for that and it’s stronger than that.”

However, a source within Scottish politics said that while the discipline and loyalty within the SNP was “incredible”, the new members risked embarrassing the leadership.

“I don’t know how you can keep that level of control up with a party that now has more than 100,000 members,” he said.

“These new people want to get engaged. I think this could leave Nicola vulnerable. And that’s not to mention the MPs who make it into Westminster. She’s going to be in Holyrood – how can she exercise control from there?

“These people in Westminster, they’re not going to get any ministerial positions. In the Scottish parliament she can sweeten MSPs with ministerial jobs – she won’t be able to do that with this new flock who may find they won’t have that much to do.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/SNP/11574555/Head-butts-Nazis-and-sham-campaigns-The-scandals-linked-to-the-SNP-firebrands-who-could-be-MPs.html

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