Scottish Daily Mail
Fury after SNP councillor backs call to ‘dangle’ Scots Tory MP from a bridge
‘Despicable online community’
‘ @AlbaMellon @Alba_Mellon ‘I, of course, am a pacifist but I would enjoy dangling this grovelling ’ **** from kincardine Bridge by his privates attached to a bungee rope’ Andrew Bowie MP @AndrewBowie_MP ‘Pleasant. I’d be worried, except of course Kincardine Bridge is about 120 miles from West Aberdeenshire.’ Geva Blackett @G3VAB ‘There’s always Invercauld Bridge Andrew, never fear.’
AN SNP councillor is being investigated after backing calls to ‘dangle’ a Scottish Conservative MP from a bridge.
Geva Blackett, 64, has been reported to the Ethical Standards Commissioner watchdog, and has been ‘spoken to’ by party officials for her part in a chain of online threats against Andrew Bowie.
Though Mrs Blackett did not make the initial comments, she drew the attention of officials after suggesting an alternative location for the hypothetical assault.
The councillor, for the Upper Deeside ward of Aberdeenshire Council, has also been suspended from her role as deputy convener of the National Cairngorms Authority after constituents complained about her behaviour.
Mr Bowie, who took part in the Better Together campaign in 2014, confirmed he had provided police with a statement.
The Twitter row is part of a growing culture of abuse which MPs and MSPs now face online. Critics say such abuse has been fuelled by a growing split between the governments of Scotland and the UK and their approach to the handling of Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Annie Wells was previously warned by officials not to go outside and to increase her personal security after being targeted with online abuse.
She said: ‘SNP politicians need to realise that their behaviour influences how the radical and aggressive members of their party behave. By getting involved with this dangerous individual, the councillor in question gives legitimacy to their views.
‘We’ve seen recently how Nicola Sturgeon’s refusal to condemn racist Border protests simply emboldened nationalists to ramp up their demonstrations.
‘It’s time the SNP broke ties with the despicable online community with whom they share a constitutional obsession.’
The row began on Wednesday evening in response to a video Mr Bowie posted on Twitter praising the UK’s job retention scheme.
In a tweet, an unnamed nationalist and independence campaigner known only as ‘AlbaMellon’ reacted with a diatribe.
The social media user posted a message saying they would ‘enjoy dangling’ the MP from Kincardine Bridge in Fife ‘by his privates attached to a bungee rope’.
Mr Bowie responded by showing his followers the tweet and pointing out Kincardine Bridge was 120 miles from his constituency. The row then gained traction, resulting in hundreds of retweets, when Councillor Blackett suggested a location closer to home, adding: ‘There’s always Invercauld Bridge Andrew, never fear’.
The bridge, near Ballater, sits at the centre of the Cairngorms National Park and is part of Mr Bowie’s large constituency, located just 30 miles from his office in Banchory.
In the wake of the row, Mrs Blackett took to Facebook, telling her constituents it had been a ‘very difficult few months’ explaining she was ‘stressed and tired’.
The mother-of-four and grandmother-of-one had been deputy convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority since December 2018, according to her Linkedin social media profile.
Yesterday, the authority’s convener, Perthshire councillor Xander McDade, confirmed that Mrs Blackett had been suspended.
He said: ‘Councillor Geva Blackett posted remarks on Twitter about Andrew Bowie MP. Councillor Blackett subsequently removed the comment and issued an apology to Mr Bowie.
‘Councillor Blackett will with immediate effect take a period of leave from her duties as board deputy convener while the matter is investigated.’
Mrs Blackett is believed to have joined the SNP after being rejected as a candidate by the Tories, winning her seat in 2012. She was not available for comment last night.
A spokesman for Mr Bowie confirmed the politician had given a statement to police but said it would be inappropriate to comment further.
A spokesman for the SNP Aberdeenshire group said: ‘Our group leader was made aware of the comment and immediately spoke with Councillor Blackett.
‘Councillor Blackett advised that the comment was meant to be a joke that stems from when Mr Bowie sent her an offensive email.
‘However, Councillor Blackett understands it was in bad taste.’