Thomas Bridge 04 December 2014

Councillors suspended for burning devolution plan

Four councillors involved in a filmed burning of a copy of the Smith Commission report have been suspended from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The Renfrewshire councillors came under fire after uploading a video of themselves torching the plans, which detail potential powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament following this year’s referendum.

Former council leader Cllr Brian Lawson, Cllr Will Mylet and Cllr Mags Maclaren ignited the documents outside of Renfrewshire’s headquarters. Kenny Maclaren is thought to have filmed the burning.

Cllr Mylet turns to camera in the video, saying: ‘This is exactly what we think about it. No real powers for Scotland yet again from Westminster. We’ve been lied to again.’

‘There you go, Gordon Brown. Cheers,’ he adds, before dropping the report into a bin.

All four councillors have now been suspended from the SNP pending investigation.

After the video was uploaded on YouTube, Margaret Curran, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Scotland on Tuesday tweeted: ‘SNP can't accept devolution. 3 SNP councillors burned Smith Commission. Will @Nicola Sturgeon condemn their behaviour?’

However Scottish health minister Alex Neil told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that he saw the footage a ‘silly prank’.

While Sturgeon admitted that ‘many people are disappointed with the result of the referendum and the level of devolution recommended by the Smith Comission’, she added that her ‘clear view is that setting fire to something because you don’t agree with it is not acceptable behaviour’.

The party’s national secretary, Patrick Grady, later confirmed: ‘I have written to the convener of the party’s disciplinary committee, making a complaint against the four individuals concerned, and the four will be suspended from the party until that complaint is heard’.

Cllr Lawson declined to comment when approached by LocalGov.

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