A Highlands MSP has hit out at the Scottish media and told journalists “to get a life” over their coverage of Labour MSP Frank McAveety’s remarks about a young girl in the audience during a meeting in the Scottish Parliament when his microphone was still switched on.
Lib-Dem Jamie Stone – who represents Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross – writing in his Stone’s Throw regular column in the Northern Times weekly newspaper, said: “Look, before angry guardians of correct behaviour jump on me, we all know it wasn’t wise of Frank to have murmured what he did; but when you look at it, it was pretty weak tea.
“Certainly a poor excuse for the Scottish Press suggesting that Frank’s language in the Scottish Parliament was one of the most shocking verbal misdemeanours of recent months.
“Some journalists ought to get a life and go to other workplaces – after which they would doubtless need smelling salts and counselling.”
McAveety had commented, under his breath to a colleague – while the parliamentary committee he was convening was completing its business – how attractive a girl in the audience was. He neither swore nor mentioned any sexual acts. But his comments were picked up by a BBC microphone. He soon after tendered his resignation.
Stone also claimed that newspapers and TV …“were desperately trying to get an MSP, any MSP, to go on the record and condemn Frank McAveety, but all but one declined.”
And he revealed: “The one MSP who was quoted as attacking Frank for his comments grabbed me as we waited for the lift. She told me: ‘I never said those things about Frank! It was the press office that put that stuff out in my name! I never knew!’ Knowing the member in question, one of the original 1999 intake, I know her to be entirely straight and I don’t doubt her word. Non-elected press officers can sometimes be a little too zealous.”