Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed has come under fire after being photographed holding the flag of ultra-nationalist group Siol nan Gaidheal.
After attending a Battle of Bannockburn commemoration event at the weekend, the SNP MSP posted a group photograph to her social media in which she can be seen holding the Siol nan Gaidheal flag.
The photograph received immense backlash and many were quick to point out the significance of the flag, allegedly unknown to Tweed.
Tweed deleted the social media post and issued an apology, saying: “Apologies for my last post now deleted when the flag was pointed out. Just to be clear, I do not support any form of ultra nationalism.”
Tweed attended the commemoration event with Bannockburn and Eastern Villages SNP members. A group photograph was arranged at the end of the event, in which a man jumped into frame holding the ultra-nationalist flag.
Tweed’s office manager explains: “Because of the wind, the flag kept flapping in front of Evelyn’s face so she held it to prevent it doing so. There had been many flags there on the day. This was a historical commemorative event and Evelyn attached no significance to the flag until it was pointed out to her.”
Siol nan Gaidheal, meaning ‘Seed of the Gaels’, is an anti-English organisation linked with ethnic nationalism.
Opposition MSPs have condemned Tweed for holding the extremist flag, with Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart deeming it an “insult to thousands of your own constituents” and that Tweed’s explanation of the flag blowing in her face is “something straight out of ‘The Thick of It’.”
Stephen Kerr, Chief Whip for the Scottish Conservatives and former MP for Stirling, tweeted: “Fairly shocked to see SNP MSP Evelyn Tweed holding the flag of an ethnic nationalist group. With yesterday’s march, Stirling SNP have some serious questions to answer.”
Following the criticism, Evelyn Tweed told Brig:
“I never have and never will support any form of ultra-nationalism and, given my particular family circumstances, it is completely ridiculous to suggest I would.
“I am deeply disappointed that some pro-unionist politicians – who should know better – took to commenting on social media without first attempting to establish the facts surrounding the taking of this picture.
“In the current climate, trying to score political points by making provocative allegations which summon the online mob is deeply irresponsible.”
Featured Image Credit: Stirling SNP / Evelyn Tweed via Twitter