Ruth Davidson accuses SNP of 'HOSTILE tirades' after honorary Army role
The Scottish Tory leader hit out at “fury brigades on social media” and Nationalist MP Douglas Chapman for questioning the role with the 32 Signal Regiment in the Commons.
Ms Davidson, who served as a reservist before becoming an MSP, posted an extraordinary online response lambasting the SNP’s “crouching defensiveness”.
She said criticism of the five-year post was a “remarkable” sign of the Nationalists’ political weakness and they would previously have “brushed off” such issues.
Ms Davidson warned the criticism would make others “think twice” about taking on similar roles with the Armed Forces amid fears they would receive the “Highland Spring treatment”.
Her comments follow the bottled water giant’s chief executive Les Montgomery backtracking on comments criticising the drive towards a second independence referendum.
In a series of 35 tweets, the Conservative leader also published correspondence from two senior officers showing she delayed June’s announcement until after the council and general elections.
Ms Davidson said the SNP’s response was “fairly bizarre” and highlighted Mr Chapman’s parliamentary question asking if Ministry of Defence (MoD) processes were followed.
Keith Brown, the SNP’s Veterans Minister, who served in the Falklands War, had also retweeted a post claiming the announcement had been “very inappropriate” and added: “Perception of political bias?”
Ms Davidson said: “I know that the fury brigades on social media react to the slightest trigger, and I am a pretty stout veteran of 2014; but even I wasn’t expecting the hostile and vitriolic tirades that followed the event at Edinburgh Castle to promote Armed Forces Day, encouraged by SNP outriders.
“I know of several people from civic Scotland who have performed such as role with Army or RAF units.
“My fear is that people will think twice about saying yes if they reckon they’re going to get the ‘Highland Spring’ treatment.”
At the weekend Mr Montgomery said businesses are “fed up” with talk of another plebescite but later issued an apology suggesting the remarks had been misconstrued.
It came after the firm was contacted by the Scottish Government and threats of a boycott from so-called “Cybernats” on social media.
But both he and Mr Brown, who is also Economy Secretary, denied the firm had been “intimated” into making a U-turn.
In his reply to Mr Chapman junior Defence Minister Mark Lancaster insisted that the regulations had been followed in Ms Davidson appointment.
He added: “All three Services take care to ensure that appointments have not been made solely on the basis of personal or professional acquaintance or friendship.”
Responding to Ms Davidson’s attack an SNP spokesman said she had gone into “meltdown”.
He added: “These are perfectly legitimate questions - it is only right that an MP can hold the party of government to account.
“Being quite this hot-headed is not a great look for a political leader nor, for that matter, a Colonel.”
But a Scottish Tory spokesman said: “All this episode does is expose the SNP as a party utterly uninterested in speaking up for the Armed Forces.”