MSP responds to ‘disruption’ claim

David Torrance MSP

David Torrance MSP

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MSP David Torrance has reacted to online criticism suggesting he was deliberately trying to disrupt a lecture organised by former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown MP.

Mr Brown has invited renowned Scots historian Tom Devine to speak in Kirkcaldy on the ‘reinvention of Scotland’, as part of the ‘Fife talks’ series, on December 13.

However, SNP member Mr Torrance, posting on Facebook, was accused of attempting to rally a group of pro-Scottish independence supporters, calling themselves ‘turtles’, to sabotage the event.

In his post, Mr Torrance claimed Mr Devine had been invited to lecture on “how we are better together” and it would be “nice to fill the hall with Yes supporters”.

One post made by a user said how they were attempting to “book all” the tickets, with another saying they were trying to get as many as they could lay their hands on, through themselves and others.

Mr Torrance signed off by thanking the ‘turtles’, saying he knew he could “rely” on them.

The post was subsequently published by other political Facebook and Twitter profiles, including the Better Together pro-union page itself, with one user saying “to actively encourage the disruption of an open debate is nothing short of pathetic.”

Others described the post as “disgraceful” and an attempt to “subvert democracy”.

Some, though, said Mr Torrance’s post showed no signs of any attempt to disrupt the event.

Speaking to the Mail, Mr Torrance said: “The reason I encouraged so many people to go to the event is because Tom Devine is a great speaker and people should hear him.

“I also invited my scout group.

“As we go on, as many people from all sides should attend events like this, particularly young people, to enable them to make their own minds up.

“If you look at their profile you see they (the turtles) are a peaceful organisation.

“This is just a case of scaremongering by the Better Together campaign.”