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MSP criticised for calling Brexiteers names as Remainers gather outside MP's office


By Alistair Whitfield

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Part of the gathering outside Douglas Ross MP's office on Friday evening.
Part of the gathering outside Douglas Ross MP's office on Friday evening.

MORAY'S MSP has been criticised for attacking Brexit supporters as "Little Englanders".

After saying that he was both "sad and angry" that Scotland was being forced out of the European Union, Richard Lochhead added: "The Little Englanders and their opportunist bedfellows in the Conservative Party are inflicting the biggest economic dislocation on Scotland for generations."

Moray Councillor (Forres, Conservative) Claire Feaver has expressed dismay at Mr Lochhead's comments.

She said: "A total of 23,992 people in Moray voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU - which was 49.9 per cent of the people who voted here. Yet, according to Richard Lochhead, they are 'Little Englanders'.

"This is dog-whistle politics from a nationalist politician and incredibly disrespectful. Before I made Moray my home, I lived in many countries including South Africa, the Sudan, India, Pakistan and Sweden. All of these have faced serious challenges to do with ethnicity and nationalism.

"I know from that experience how careful politicians should be not to inflame tensions. Mr Lochhead should learn to be more careful in his choice of words."

Jamie Halcro Johnston, Highlands and Islands Tory MSP, whose constituency includes Moray added: "I’m extremely disappointed by both the tone and language of Richard Lochhead’s comments.

"Such comments are irresponsible, divisive and only aimed at demonising those who disagree with him."

However, Mr Lochhead claimed his Conservative rivals are being "wilfully obtuse".

He said: "The sentence clearly and specifically is referring to Tory politicians in the Leave campaign. I have always been clear that many people voted for Brexit for many genuine reasons, but the extreme wing of the Tory party and the leave campaign often comes across as very insular and even xenophobic at times.

"The Scottish Tories should spend more time worrying about the damage that Brexit is going to do to Scotland’s economy and people’s jobs. No one should take any lessons from Tory politicians about divisive politics."

Meanwhile, nearly 30 people held a candlelight vigil outside Moray MP Douglas Ross' office to mark Brexit on Friday evening.

The group waved starry flags and Saltires, and sang 'Anthem of Europe' to show support for the European Union in response to Brexiteers heralding the moment the UK officially divorced from the confederation with celebrations including a flagship bash in London's Parliament Square headlined by Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage.

In 2016 the 'Leave' side won the EU referendum with 52 per cent of the vote across the UK but in Scotland, 62 per cent of votes were to 'Remain', with a majority of voters in every local authority area voting "remain".

The vote was tighter in Moray where Leave got 49.9 per cent and Remain 50.1 per cent.

Isabella Guerrini de Claire was at the Forres EU vigil.

She said: "It was a grievance to commemorate the loss of EU citizenship for the Scots and the end of almost 50 years of peaceful alliance. Europe was a very conflicted region before the EU foundation.

"Piper and businessman Iain Findlay played bagpipes and politely told Mr Ross he was on the wrong side of history."

Mr Lochhead added: "The UK’s departure from the European Union last week was heart-breaking and around the country we saw an outpouring of sadness that Scotland is being taken out of the EU against our will.

"Leaving the EU will have profound political, cultural, economic and social ramifications for families, communities and our country.

"We have proud ties with Europe going back centuries that have brought us many benefits and I many people feel a great sense of loss."

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