Scottish Labour confronted by Tories after MSPs debated abolition of the monarchy for a Freshers’ Week event
Two Scottish Labour MSPs have sparked controversy after arguing for the abolition of the monarchy last Friday at the GUU’s Freshers’ show debate. This prompted a response from Scottish Tories who believed this to be a genuine reflection of policies many Labour politicians hold. However the GUU has claimed that these beliefs are misconstrued and show a lack of understanding of the event.
Labour MSPs Katy Clark and Paul Sweeney spoke at the debate in favour of removing the monarchy, alongside fellow Scottish Labour Councillor Martin Lennon, and the Dialectic Society President Ananya Venkatesan. The Express claims this prompted a response from the Scottish conservatives, who were quoted saying that the abolition of the monarchy was "[an] even more extreme position than Nicola Sturgeon holds".
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser further responded: “It only confirms that Labour have significantly moved away from the proud patriotic stance they once took, in a shameless bid to pander to republican voters.”
However GUU claims that the conservatives have misunderstood what the purpose of the debate was and interpreting that these were genuine positions held by the speakers is inaccurate. Joseph Hutchison, GUU Debates Convenor, told The Glasgow Guardian in a statement: “Speakers, such as politicians, come to the Union often because they enjoy speaking here, regardless of whether they actually believe what is being debated. Show debates exist for the purpose of entertainment, not for sincere discourse.”
Hutchison further criticised the Tory attempts to push the narrative of Labour believing in the abolition of the monarchy as “disingenuous”. He continued, saying: “The speakers were not selected for the debate based on their beliefs on the monarchy, but because we thought they'd be good speakers. If they do happen to have those views, though, so be it.”
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