The Labour candidate for Moray in Scotland, Stuart Maclennan, is facing calls to resign today after details of the messages he has shared with the world on Twitter emerged.
Maclennan works for Labour at the Scottish Parliament and is Secretary of Scottish Young Labour, and his Twitter account has swiftly been taken down. But this was not before the Scottish Sun had got onto him.
As the paper reports, he used his Twitter feed to describe David Cameron as a "t***", Nick Clegg "a b******" and Labour MP Diane Abbott "a f****** idiot".
And his inappropriate comments were not confined to politicians. He branded X Factor judge Louis Walsh "a c***" and made other highly inappropriate observations about life for someone standing for public office, such as:
"Jeezo, I'm as dry as a nun's f**** today"
"Made my connecting train. No first class it would appear. Sitting opposite the ugliest old boot I've ever seen too"
"You know I think I might be completely sober for the first time in 4 days"
Scottish Labour have said his behaviour was "foolish", but the Tory leader in Scotland, Annabel Goldie MSP, says he should quit:
“I am disgusted by this disgraceful behaviour from a Labour candidate. If he has any shred of remorse or decency then he must stand down. If he does not go voluntarily then Labour must sack him. At the very time the public are calling for politicians to clean up politics Labour remain in the gutter. Labour have run a repugnant and desperate campaign so far. Twisting the truth and using fears and smears to scare the most vulnerable people in our society. This candidates behaviour is entirely consistent with this type of campaign.”
You can download this spreadhseet with details of several hundred of Maclennan's more recent Tweets.
It has also been pointed out to me that Maclennan's activities are in direct breach of the pledge made last summer by Gordon Brown that Labour candidates must uphold the highest standards of integrity. Here's what Brown said on June 25th 2009:
"We've got to make sure that people see that their Members of Parliament and those who seek to represent them are acting in the public interest and not in their self interest. We've got to make sure that people see that their politicians are in it not for what they can get, but for what they can give. That's why today we promise that we will uphold the highest standards of integrity, we promise that there will be transparency in everything we do."
If Brown meant what he said, Maclennan simply has to go.
The Labour hierarchy have been dismissive of the growing anger about Maclennan's offensive Tweets; but the Labour blogosphere would appear to be more understanding of the unacceptability of what their candidate has said.
Here's what Alex Smith on Labourlist has blogged:
"Why someone who has political aspirations would feel the need to publish these thoughts publicly, I'll never know. Some are unforgiveable. And it's not just one slip-up, it's series of inappropriate and offensive tweets. MacLennan is now under pressure to resign. To avoid causing the party any further embarrassment and prolonged difficulty, it's something he should seriously consider."
And Will Straw has been unequivocal in a Tweet of his own this morning:
"He should resign – it's a disgrace"
The BBC report that Labour are now to remove Maclennan as a candidate – not long after Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said that he would remain as Labour's candidate in Moray.
Here's the statement from Scottish Labour (via Paul Waugh) which confirms the U-Turn it has made over the course of the last couple of hours:
"Stuart MacLennan has been sacked as Labour's candidate for Moray for the totally unacceptable language which he has expressed online. On reading the comments in full, the Scottish Labour Party was outraged by their content and Scottish Labour's General Secretary took the decision to suspend his membership of the Labour Party. Stuart MacLennan is no longer a Labour Party candidate nor eligible to hold office as a Labour Party representative."
Scottish Labour may have been outraged at reading the comments in full today, but what about the fact that senior Labour figures such as Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Ben Bradshaw and John Prescott have all been following him on Twitter, yet have never batted an eyelid about his conduct?