Wednesday, 08 August 2012
Davidson must apologise for bizarre anti-BBC rant
Johann Lamont has today been challenged to discipline Labour MP Ian Davidson after his bizarre Newsnight Scotland interview last night, in which he attacked the impartiality of respected journalist Isobel Fraser and Newsnight Scotland as a whole, repeatedly referring to it as ‘Newsnat Scotland’ and accusing the programme of bias.
Ms Lamont, as leader of the Labour party in Scotland, is responsible for the conduct of all Scottish Labour MPs.
SNP MSP Sandra White has today written to Johann Lamont calling on her to discipline Mr Davidson by ensuring he apologises to Ms Fraser and BBC Scotland for his outburst, after his refusal to apologise on air.
Ms White, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said: “This isn’t the first time that Ian Davidson has publicly embarrassed himself, but his extraordinary behaviour cannot simply be swept under the carpet – and he must now apologise to Isobel Fraser and BBC Scotland.
“If he continues to refuse to apologise then Johan Lamont, as his boss, must make him.
“This was a bizarre rant from Mr Davidson, and his aggressive approach to the interview did him absolutely no favours. Making such ludicrous accusations was grossly disrespectful to Isobel Fraser and everyone involved in making the programme.
“The revelation that the Labour Party apparently shares these views more generally - and has repeatedly complained about it - raises serious questions.
“Does Johann Lamont share Ian Davidson’s outlandish belief that one of Scotland’s flagship political programmes is biased? If she does not then she must openly disown him for his comments and order him to issue a public apology."
Referring to Mr Davidson’s remarks about the referendum, Ms White added: “Ian Davidson also let the cat out of the bag by revealing that the Tory-led anti-independence campaign’s calls for an early referendum are entirely down to cynical political expediency.
“His determination to attach strings to Scotland’s referendum is a clear demonstration of why the referendum must be made in Scotland for people in Scotland. Westminster meddling will simply not be acceptable.”
In the Newsnight interview, which can be watched here, Ian Davidson revealed that the anti-independence campaign’s calls for an early referendum had not in fact been based on anything other than political expediency, stating; “we want to have a speedy referendum... We want to have a referendum because we think we’re going to win quite frankly”. Mr Davidson also made clear his determination to see strings attached to any section 30 order relating to the referendum.
Asked by Isobel Fraser to apologise for his accusations, Mr Davidson responded: “Oh certainly not” and continued “I have already complained, as has the Labour party on a number of occasions, about the way ‘Newsnat Scotland’ behaves. And I think you are clearly biased and have been for a long time against the unionist parties and if that causes you concern then I’m afraid that you’ve just got to recognise that politics is about people exchanging views and you’re not above the fray. And if you want to stand for election do so, otherwise try and be more neutral.”