Twitter storm over 'sexist' tweet by SNP MSP
Anger after John Mason MSP compared electorate to a 'girl who does not always say yes first time'
An SNP MSP has provoked outrage after a tweet about Scottish independence was labelled "sexist".
Speaking about the result of the 2014 independence referendum in which Scotland voted No by 55 per cent, Mason tweeted: "Marginal view was no to indy. We hope to change that. The girl does not always say yes first time!"
Critics said the comment was sexist, but Mason apologised for 'any offence'.
NUS Scotland president Vonnie Sandlan accused Mason of "casually, and publicly, using an analogy about coercive control and rape culture to make a stupid point about independence."
Mason denied he was referring to rape, and claimed he had referred to "going out or getting married".
SNP supporters defended Mason online, accusing reports of the incident as "quack journalism".
However, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale called on the SNP to strip Mason of the party whip.
“The First Minister will have to decide if Mr Mason is a man she genuinely believes can continue to represent the SNP, given his apparent sexist attitude towards women," she said.
“For the first time in Scotland we’ll soon be able to prosecute coercive behaviour as the result of a Domestic Abuse Bill that was supported by all political parties.
"Mr Mason clearly learned nothing from those parliamentary debates about the importance of using responsible language. We have made great strides through education and campaigns to teach the lesson that No means No, and Mr Mason's choice of words risks undermining that progress."
Mason told The Scotsman: “I see it as innocent. I think some people are looking for the worst when they read something and every day my tweets get twisted.
“If there are two or three meanings to something I’m afraid some people just always go for the worst one.
“I’m sorry if anyone’s offended or anything like that but I have to say, if you look at it, if people didn’t understand what I meant then they could certainly have asked me, but to assume that it’s something much worse... people who know me, I’m not going to joke about sex, let alone rape.”
Mason has been portrayed as a rebel in the past, disagreeing with the party leadership over issues such as abortion and equal marriage.
Julian Smith admitted he asked Brandon Lewis to break pairing arrangement on crunch vote
The House of Commons leader warned Brussels they will force a no deal Brexit if they reject the proposals
With a new poll showing high public support for onshore wind, the UK Government's hostility to renewables looks ever more confusing
Home Office arrested and removed 26 European nationals from Scotland for sleeping rough on the streets in a move now deemed unlawful