MSP Richard Lyle sparked a huge backlash from the British army and military officials after scaremongering about military patrols during the coronavirus outbreak. During yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions, Mr Lyle asked his party’s leader Nicola Sturgeon about the “unconfirmed reports” on military army units in his own constituency. In response, the army dismissed the claim as a “social media rumour” while the UK Defence Journal accused the MSP of “spreading panic”.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, the Uddingston & Bellshill MSP said: “There are unconfirmed reports that Army units are setting up in Strathclyde Park in my constituency.
“First Minister, what discussions have you had with the armed forces high command in Scotland regarding the emergency, and will Army units be used during it?”
Ms Sturgeon responded that she would “look into the specific issue that Richard Lyle has raised”.
She added: “The Army often provides support when we need it. For example, during previous terrorist incidents. They supply support to the police. We will take help wherever we can get it.”
Soon afterwards, the Army’s regional office in Scotland shot down the “unconfirmed report” as fake.
A spokesman said: “It’s a social media rumour that has been going on for about a day. It’s not true.”
The SNP’s own defence spokesperson, MP Stewart McDonald, hit out at the claims, tweeting: “This is false.”
He added: “The disinformation on the virus is only going to get worse during this pandemic.”
It tweeted: “Richard, you’re spreading panic based on posts you’ve seen on social media.
“You’re the target audience for this type of misinformation.
“It may not impact you but it’ll certainly impact others, please critically evaluate what you see on social media, you’re an MSP.”
A defiant Mr Lyle said he was only doing his job, tweeting: “It is sometimes the job of a politician to ask the hard questions and I will continue to do that even if some people don’t agree with me. To them, I say, tough!!!”
Published at Fri, 20 Mar 2020 11:10:00 +0000