A former SNP councillor has been cleared by the standards watchdog over a tweet which said that Scotland hates the United Kingdom.
Rhiannon Spear, who stood down as a councillor this month due to what she said was the “toxic atmosphere in politics”, made the remark during the Eurovision Song Contest last year.
Spear previously represented the Greater Pollok ward on Glasgow City Council.
In her Tweet, posted in May, 2021, Spear commented on the competition after the UK had received zero points.
She wrote: “It’s ok Europe we hate the United Kingdom too. Love, Scotland. #Eurovision.”
Later, Spear deleted her Twitter account and issued an apology for the remark.
“I have now deleted this tweet about the UK’s results in the Eurovision Song Contest, and apologise for any offence caused,” she said in a statement issued at the time.
Spear has previously said that both she and her family have suffered “abhorrent” abuse and threats online over the post.
The Eurovision tweet, alongside a second tweet, were reported to the Standards Commission for Scotland.
The second tweet read: “The UK has a billionaire chancellor who won’t give NHS staff a fair pay rise during a global pandemic + a racist Prime Minister who’s more interested in lining the pockets of his Tory donors than feeding hungry children”.
The watchdog has now confirmed that Spear was protected by the enhanced right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Spear said that she had deliberately mirrored language from a film about Eurovision where someone had said that everyone hates the UK.
And she explained that her use of the word “hate” was in this context and was an “exaggerated joke”.
The Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) concluded that it was not clear that there had been a breach of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.
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