Lib Dem MSP forced to apologise after swearing at colleague in Holyrood zoom meeting

Alex Cole-Hamilton appears to swear in committee meeting

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Cameras covering a virtual meeting of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee appeared to show the Lib Dem saying: “F*** you, Maree.” As a row over his language broke out, Mr Cole-Hamilton said he had lost his temper over the Scottish Government “backsliding on children’s rights once again”. He accepted that he had “muttered something under my breath that I shouldn’t have”, and apologised to the minister.

Ms Todd however tweeted to him: “No Alex. You do not get away with that.

“It was an appalling way to behave towards a female colleague. You do not get to blame me for your bad behaviour.”

Ms Todd also said while the “swearing is appalling the face contorted with anger also requires some explanation”, adding that she would be “grateful to hear it”.

As Holyrood met again for the first time since the incident, which took place on Thursday, Mr Cole-Hamilton said he wanted to “try and make things right”.

He stated: “On Thursday in an exchange on children’s rights with the minister Maree Todd I was captured on camera mouthing language that was neither parliamentary nor respectful.

“I apologise unreservedly to the minister.

“Each of us in this chamber should strive to reflect the better natures of the people we are sent here to serve. I am very sorry and I will reflect on that.”

It comes as Scotland’s schools’ watchdog should be broken up and the national exams body must be overhauled as neither organisation is “fit for purpose”, the Scottish Liberal Democrats said.

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On Wednesday, MSPs will vote on a motion from the party which would divide up Education Scotland’s inspection and policy roles.

The Lib Dems also want to see the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) reorganised to be more accountable and “grounded in the teaching profession”.

The exams body came under intense scrutiny last year due to its role in the system which estimated pupil grades, which was ultimately abandoned.

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said both organisations should have been reformed before the pandemic hit.


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He said: “Education Scotland and the SQA’s days are numbered.

“They have let hardworking teachers, pupils and parents down throughout this pandemic.

“At a time of disruption and worry, instead of making peoples’ jobs and lives easier, they have made them harder.

“Despite months of warnings, the SQA and John Swinney teamed up to create an exams system and algorithm that actively penalised pupils from the poorest backgrounds.”

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