Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw has been branded a “liar and a disgrace” by a campaigner whose tour event in an East Renfrewshire school was cancelled.
Pro-independence activist Jason Michael McCann was due to appear at Mearns Castle High School on March 6 as part of his #JeggitOnTour speaking tour.
But the event’s promoters, Yes Eastwood, pulled the plug three days after booking the venue.
Mr McCann then took to Twitter to confirm Yes Eastwood has cancelled its #JeggitOnTour talk, adding the quote: “I don’t know if you know Eastwood, but it is wall to wall Tory. We don’t want to do this, but it will have ‘serious repurcussions’ for us and our members.”
He then went on to attack Jackson Carlaw MSP, who had previously raised concerns about the event taking place in a school building and accused Mr McCann of making “distasteful comments”.
On January 26, Mr McCann wrote on Twitter: “British soldiers returned to the streets of Northern Ireland. Good Friday Agreement now utterly defunct. Without peace, as the rules of war would have it, these British soldiers are legitimate targets.”
On hearing that Mr McCann was due to speak at an event in his Eastwood constituency, Mr Carlaw responded: “The description of British soldiers in Northern Ireland as ‘legitimate targets’ appears to incite violence towards UK Army Personnel and the individual concerned has also reportedly characterized the poppy as a ‘bloodied weed’.
“Giving an individual who has made distasteful comments on these lines a public speaking platform within a council-owned building, let alone a school, would have been hugely inappropriate.”
Mr McCann has since hit back on Twitter, writing: “Mr Carlaw, I suggest you quit trying to twist my words to ramp up sectarian tension.”
And in another tweet he wrote: “For the record Jackson Carlaw – you are a liar.
“At no point did I say that British soliders were a legitimate target. You are a disgrace.”
Conservative councillor Jim Swift, who represents Newton Mearns South, had also spoken out against Mr McCann appearing at the event in Mearns Castle High School.
He said: “Once I was made aware of this event at Mearns Castle High School in my ward, I immediately contacted the chief executive of the Leisure Trust and the chief executive of the council to request that it be cancelled.
“I believe in freedom of speech and that people with broadly offensive views should be allowed to air them.
“However, this is someone who has condoned sectarian violence, which arguably goes beyond the offensive, and might be interpreted by some as support for terrorism.”
Cllr Swift continued: “Council properties should not be used to facilitate public speaking appearances for individuals who have espoused inflammatory views of this nature. Cancelling the event is the right decision.”
Following the cancellation of the tour event, Mr Carlaw praised East Renfrewshire Council for dealing with the matter “urgently and efficiently”.
However, Yes Eastwood explained it was its decision to pull the plug.
A spokesman said: “On February 4, Yes Eastwood confirmed our hall booking for the event. On February 7, following internal discussions, we cancelled the booking.
“Yes Eastwood have had no other contact with the council or any other body, regard the event.”
An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman confirmed that the organisers cancelled the event.
Mr McCann could not be reached for comment.