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A SENIOR Labour politician running to become deputy-leader of the party in Scotland has refused to apologise to a young female activist after sharing online messages “tantamount to bullying.”
Jackie Baillie MSP, who hopes to win the post in April, shared multiple Tweets heavily criticising activist Lauren Gilmour.
Ms Gilmour, who co-chairs the campaign of Ms Baillie’s opponent, Matt Kerr, came under attack on social media after writing a blog about constituency Labour party structures.
She suggested that many young activists were not made to feel welcome at meetings, adding that CLPs often do not engage with the wider membership.
The claims outraged MSPs and elected officials, with former Scottish Labour Secretary Brian Roy among those hitting out at the blog and urging Mr Kerr to distance himself from Ms Gilmour.
Posts by Mr Roy and others were shared by Jackie Baillie, as well as other Labour MSPs and activists supporting her candidacy.
Despite Ms Gilmour later posting a statement condemning the “intimidating” response to her blog, which she described as “tantamount to bullying,” Ms Baillie refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for Ms Baillie's campaign said: “The views of all CLPs and members should be respected no matter who they nominated and whether they attend meetings or not.
“Jackie will always be proud of our dedicated CLP activists, and as deputy-leader she will stand alongside them as we work to rebuild our party, engage new members and old, and win elections once again.”
Mr Kerr condemned the attack on his campaign’s co-chair, saying that many members had had negative experiences with CLP meetings.
He said: “If our party is to unite and move forward, we should listen to the voices of those who have not felt welcome, not engage in attempts to silence them through online pile-ons.
“The reaction to Lauren’s comments have displayed precisely the type of divisive culture that needs to end if Scottish Labour is to move forward.”
Party leader Richard Leonard intervened in the spat, posting on Twitter: “There is no place in our party for online pile-ons, and activists who raise concerns about the format of our meetings should be listened to.”
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