An allegation from Scotland’s only Labour MP that a letter sent to him by an SNP MP was an attempt at silencing him has been called into question after he released the letter in question.
Ian Murray, who represents Edinburgh South, made the allegation on Sunday when he posted the following message on Twitter: “When I defended u I got bizarre letter from Mr Nicholson [sic] trying to shut me down too. It contained strange allegations to justify his actions”
The allegation from the Labour MP brought an immediate challenge from the man he was targeting, SNP MP John Nicolson. In a reply to his Labour accuser the SNP MP invited Murray to reproduce the letter.
When no letter appeared after twenty four hours, the SNP MP posted another message highlighting the failure of his accuser to publish the letter.
On Monday evening an under pressure Mr Murray finally relented and published the letter [click image to enlarge]. However instead of backing up his own claims against Mr Nicolson it appeared to exonerate the SNP MP.
The letter has been reproduced below in full:
I read your tweet last week about “silencing journalists” and was disappointed by it.
I’m surprised you seem to misunderstand the point I was making.
I don’t believe that STV’s online political editor should abandon the company’s traditional objectivity and write personal opinion – regardless of what that opinion is. I think whoever holds the post should abide by the same code as the company’s on-air political editor.
Do you disagree?
Moreover I don’t believe that STV’s online political editor should repeatedly tweet to endorse the twitter troll who has insulted, in the most grotesquely misogynistic and sexual terms, women across the political spectrum including your colleague Johann Lamont.
Again do you disagree?
It seems that you do, apparently characterising my criticisms as “U still silencing journos?”
While STV is entirely free to hire whoever it wants, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for any of us to comment where we believe that the ethos of public service broadcasting is under threat.
As you will know, having been my colleague in the Commons for a year, I go out of my way to back journalists, not least at the BBC during the Charter renewal process, and at Channel 4 where programmes like ‘Undiscovered World’ and the hour long ‘Channel 4 News’ would, I believe, be threatened by privatisation.
I look forward to your reply.
John Nicolson MP
Following the letter’s publication, MP John Nicolson tweeted the following response:
The spat between both MPs was prompted by claims that former STV journalist Stephen Daisley was silenced by Mr Nicolson and his SNP colleague Pete Wishart. Unionist commentators have alleged Mr Daisley was ‘shut down’ by the two MPs because of his criticism of the party.
The claims though have been denied by STV and the National Union of Journalists. In a recent article for the Scottish Mail on Sunday Mr Daisley himself appeared to admit he hadn’t in fact been silenced but had faced a choice of between continuing as editor or as a writer, but not both.
Daisley faced the choice after posting an endorsement of a well-known Twitter troll ‘Brian Spanner’ who has targeted some of Scotland’s most high profile female figures with disgusting sexual messages.
Read full the story of ‘Brian Spanner’ and his online exchanges HERE.Views: 3224