Tory MSP apologises after blaming SNP for ‘xenophobic behaviour’

A TORY MSP has apologised for blaming the SNP for “xenophobic” protests at Edinburgh Airport.

Rachael Hamilton claimed the SNP were behind the group of people standing outside the airport with a banner that said ‘England Stay Out of Scotland’.

The group behind the move was actually Action for Scotland who have called for the Scottish Government closes borders and transport hubs linking England and Scotland in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The group, led by campaigner Sean Clerkin, claim that “irresponsible” English tourists are putting the country’s attempts to contain Covid-19 in Scotland at risk.

Hamilton, who represents Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, called for the First Minister to “call out this despicable xenophobic behaviour”.

Action for Scotland previously staged a protest at the road border between Scotland and England on the M74 which was condemned by Nicola Sturgeon and senior SNP figures.

Sturgeon said: “The people who protested at the Border did not speak for me.

“They were not there on my behalf and they were not there communicating a message that I endorse in any way. In fact, I would emphatically say I don’t endorse that.

“This is not a question about whether people in England are welcome in Scotland.

“Of course they are, just as people in Scotland, hopefully, are welcome in England.”

 Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf described the incident as “horrible, reprehensible and vile”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon condemns Scotland-England Border protesters

Hamilton later apologised for her remarks, saying: “I have reflected and apologise for my inappropriate language in a recent tweet which was intended only to be in reference to the numerous unwelcoming xenophobic protests we have witnessed at Edinburgh Airport and in my constituency.”

But Hamilton’s apology was criticised for being insincere. 

SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse said Hamilton knew the protests had nothing to do with the SNP.

He said: “Those protests had nothing to do with the SNP, Rachael, & what’s more you know that & you probably knew it when you made your remarks -yet, you still saw fit to condemn all of us who support the SNP as “bigots”. I am glad you’ve never had, nor will you receive, a role in justice.”

Others suggested Hamilton must have been told to apologise by Westminster.

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