Labour accused as candidate sacked over 'offensive' tweets

Senior Labour figures were embroiled in the first scandal of the election campaign today after a candidate was sacked for making offensive comments on Twitter.

Stuart MacLennan, 24, was dropped as Labour's candidate for Moray less than four weeks before polling day after details of the remarks emerged.



Opposition politicians challenged senior Labour figures said to have been followers of Mr MacLennan's micro-blog to explain why they had not acted earlier.



The Conservatives and SNP said Ed Balls, Ben Bradshaw and John Prescott had all been followers.



Today, Gordon Brown branded Mr MacLennan's remarks "unacceptable".



The Prime Minister said: "A candidate has made a mistake. It's unacceptable. That candidate has got to resign.



"I have made it absolutely clear what my views are: we cannot have people standing as candidates for the Labour Party who express these views, so that candidate will not be a candidate for the Labour Party."



Mr MacLennan was summoned to Labour's Scottish headquarters in Glasgow this morning where he was sacked.



Labour initially appeared to have rejected calls for him to be dropped. Scottish party leader Iain Gray, who was campaigning alongside Scots Secretary Jim Murphy, stated that while the comments were "absolutely unacceptable", Mr MacLennan had the support of the Labour Party.



However, a short time later it was revealed Mr MacLennan had been sacked.



A party spokesman confirmed he had been axed for "the totally unacceptable language which he has expressed online".



He added: "On reading the comments in full, the Scottish Labour Party was outraged by their content and Scottish Labour's general secretary took the decision to suspend his membership of the Labour Party.



"Stuart MacLennan is no longer a Labour Party candidate nor eligible to hold office as a Labour Party representative."



Mr MacLennan issued a brief statement in which he said: "I am very sorry. I have been stupid and rightly paid a high price."



His Twitter page has now been closed down but the Scottish Sun said he branded House of Commons Speaker John Bercow a "t**", Tory leader Mr Cameron a "t***" and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg "a b******".



He posted an outburst about veteran Labour MP Diane Abbott, describing her as "a f****** idiot", the paper said.



Mr MacLennan also reportedly called X Factor judge Louis Walsh a "c***", referred to Jedward as "odious little s***s" and wrote: "I f****** hate Paolo Nutini."



Other foul-mouthed messages which he had written later emerged in the course of the day.



Conservative leader David Cameron described the remarks as "pretty appalling" and added: "Jim Murphy, the Secretary of State for Scotland, showed very bad judgment in first of all saying that seemed to be OK.



"If these tweets were sent to other people in the Cabinet, why didn't they do something about it?"



Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie said: "What staggers me is senior Labour figures, including Ed Balls, Ben Bradshaw and John Prescott, condoned this behaviour for so long by following his Tweets without protest."



SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Leading Labour Party figures knew about what he was saying and presumably thought it was all right so long as nobody knew about it."



Mr Salmond stated: "It is now emerging many leading Labour figures, senior politicians, Cabinet members, shadow cabinet members of Scotland, were followers on his Twitter."



He claimed that meant they had known "the sort of things he was saying" but had done "nothing about it".



Mr Salmond added the issue was now "a question of who knew what, when".



He said of Labour: "They stand accused not just of total incompetence and disarray, but of complete and utter hypocrisy."



Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Scottish spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: "This whole debacle only demonstrates the weakness of Labour in Scotland."



The decision to sack Mr MacLennan leaves members of the local party in Moray searching for a new candidate.



A Scottish Labour spokesman said activists in the area would meet "in the next day or so" to do this and added: "We expect a new candidate to be in place in the next couple of days."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'