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by Kirsteen Paterson
17 March 2022
Nicola Sturgeon challenged to condemn 'toxic, racist political discourse' after SNP advisor suspended for tweet

The exchange happened during First Minister's Questions

Nicola Sturgeon challenged to condemn 'toxic, racist political discourse' after SNP advisor suspended for tweet

Pam Gosal MSP raised the matter during FMQs

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to "root out and condemn toxic racist political discourse" in the SNP following comments made by one of the party’s advisors.

Sturgeon was challenged by Conservative MSP Pam Gosal after SNP policy advisor Tim Rideout was suspended over a remark about Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Rideout, who sits on the party's Policy Development Committee and runs a group on currency, was suspended over a social media post which asked how Patel could be sent "back to Uganda".

The Home Secretary was born in London, following her parents' move to the UK and hails from a Ugandan-Indian background. Her parents moved to the UK in the 1960s.

During First Minister's Questions, Gosal, who represents the West Scotland region, asked Sturgeon about the "appalling racist comment", saying: "I welcome that the SNP has taken quick action in suspending and launching an investigation into Tim Rideout's conduct but racism is never an isolated incident and this is something all parties must condemn.

"Will the First Minister assure BAME communities in Scotland and the broader public that her party will rout out and condemn racist political discourse?"

Sturgeon said it would be "wrong" for her to comment further on the suspension while an investigation takes place. However, she said it was "an issue for all parties", stating: "I represent the most diverse constituency in the whole of Scotland in this parliament. I represent the biggest BAME community in the country. I understand these issues. I understand how serious it is that all parties take these issues very seriously.

"I am absolutely committed to doing so."

She went on: "We all have to be prepared to act when necessary in a way that aligns with what we say around these things.

"Speaking more as leader of the SNP here rather than as First Minister, I am determined that my party does. And I would call on other parties to make sure that they follow suit as well.

"And that is, I hope, something that we can unite on."

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