Controversy over political make-up at college debate?

Adam Smith College
Adam Smith College

A ‘Question Time’-style debate at a Kirkcaldy college campus has been praised, despite claims of behind-the-scenes political wrangling.

The debate, held last Friday evening, was the latest in a series staged in a bid to encourage young people to develop an interest in politics, particularly in the run-up to the independence referendum.

The independence question formed the sole subject matter of the St Brycedale event.

The Press understands that an objection was raised about the political balance of the panel, which led to an extra member being added to the line-up.

The panel included Scottish National Party Euro MSP, Alyn Smith and Allan Grogan from the Labour for Independence group, backing the ‘Yes’ campaign and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Willie Rennie and Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser for the ‘Better Together’ side of the debate.

Commenting on suggestions that pressure was placed on organisers, a college spokesman said: “The college went to great efforts to ensure a lively debate was created for the event, with widespread representation across the political parties.

“It attracted a mix of college students and pupils from secondary schools in the area and was very well received by the 120 delegates that attended.

“This ‘Question Time’ style debate formed part of a series of events organised by the college under the Fife Youth Initiative, which aims to engage young people in politics.

“The ‘Independence Debate’ was one of three events to have taken place over the past five months encouraging 16-19 year olds to get involved and enhance their understanding of both Scottish and UK politics.”