SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron Faces Deselection and Sack by Seething Activists after Voting Against Legalisation of Abortion in Northern Ireland through Westminster
14 July 2019
- An SNP MP fears she will be deselected by party “bullies” after she voted against plans for Westminster to impose the legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.
- Dr Lisa Cameron, who has twice been elected in East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, became distressed as she said:
- “It was a free vote, a conscience vote. I didn’t rebel or vote against the party whip. And yet now it’s virtually certain that abusive party activists will make sure I’m deselected and lose the job I love.”
- Dr Cameron, a consultant clinical psychologist and married mother-of-two young daughters, has been subjected to a torrent of vile abuse on social media since the House of Commons vote.
- And in a Campaign SNP Facebook account party activists have condemned the MP and openly called for her to be sacked in the current selection process.
- The MP said:
- “The attacks on me have been nothing less than vitriolic. One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.
- “I tagged this to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (extract attached) to let her see what was being written.
- “But I am sad to say that I have as yet received no response. I hope I will receive support from the party hierarchy soon.
- “I’m getting all this abuse but no one in the party will call out the abusers.
- “In a few short days my life has been turned on its head and it looks like I will be ousted. The situation is very serious.”
- Internal criticism of Dr Cameron, who regularly attends the Church of Scotland, has been led by Bill Mills a former SNP convener in South Lanarkshire and who now works voluntarily for party HQ.
- Commenting on a constituency Facebook site closed to the public he stated that he had been “utterly disgusted” by the MPs actions (extract attached).
- He accused Dr Cameron of making an “attempt to impose her religious beliefs on the women of Northern Ireland” and added:
- “She has every right to hold whatever beliefs she chooses. She cannot, however, expect anything other than the withdrawal of support by those who supported and voted for her.”
- In a separate post (extract attached)Mr Mills stated:
- “If Lisa Cameron was compelled to follow her conscience and reveal she disagreed with a fundamental policy of the party - having never disclosed it before, then she should quit her position as an elected representative of the SNP.
- “As an approved party assessor in the party vetting process, were any potential candidate to reveal that they fundamentally disagreed with the convention on human rights and women’s right to choose regarding abortion; and that they would vote … to restrict the rights that women in Scotland (or elsewhere) currently enjoy - then I would recommend that their application to be a candidate for MP, MSP or councillor be rejected.”
- That view has crucially been endorsed by Jim Edwards, the convener of the SNP’s South Lanarkshire Liaison Committee, which oversees candidate selection.
- He stated (extract attached):
- “She is not there to vote for her own conscience, she is there to vote on behalf of the people who elected her. The people who voted for her also voted for SNP policy, therefore I’m 100% behind Bill (Mills) and withdraw all support for her.”
- Another activist Euan Purchase works for Aileen Campbell the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government.
- He wrote (extract attached): “Supporting women’s choice is party policy … and … human rights legislation demands that we support those rights.”
- Female activist Lisa Maria Glashan wrote (extract attached):
- “I am appalled and embarrassed by my own SNP MP. No-one would question her right to vote according to her values and conscience, however, having done that she now has to deal with the consequences.”
- Dr Cameron’s views on abortion were partly shaped by her own tragic experience of undergoing two very late term miscarriages.
- She said: “I lost both those babies - they were much loved babies to me.”
- Just 24 hours before the vote Dr Cameron, who speaks for the SNP on mental health issues found out she had been nominated as MP of the Year by the Patchwork Foundation linked with her work as Chair of the Disability All Party Group in Parliament.
- Her office has been deluged with comments over her vote.
- She said: “My staff have had over 900 messages to patrol - abuse, cyber bullying, calling me vile names and sending pictures of rape suggesting I dont support rape survivors when in fact I helped many trauma survivors in my NHS work.”
- Her husband Mark who is an SNP Councillor in South Lanarkshire, served in the military including in Bosnia and is the council’s Veterans Champion, but he may also be forced to leave the party.
- Lisa has written to the SNP’s chief Westminster whip Patrick Grady - who told the party’s MPs they would have a free vote on the matter ahead of the debate (extract attached) - drawing attention to the internal comments on the local constituency Facebook site in the wake of the free vote.
- She urged the party to act against those attacking her and told Mr Grady:
- “If it is now incompatible to hold pro-life views and be an SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity to the SNP, then my position would invariably be untenable.
- “I think it is a very poor day when tolerance only goes in one direction.
- “I am being told by local officials that voting according to my conscience on a free vote means I have no place being elected in the SNP.
- “I find this outrageous but I have to say it is also extremely sad for Scotland.”
- In his reply (extract attached), Mr Grady made no mention of taking action against anyone over the abuse but stated:
- “You are completely correct that a free vote was in place in order that Members could vote with their conscience, and that the reason conscience votes exist is for areas where there can’t be a defined party policy.”
- Dr Cameron said although this response vindicated her position activists do not agree with the chief whip’s views. And to her knowledge he has not sought to publicly correct them.
- And she said:
- “Despite doing nothing wrong but vote according to my beliefs, I stand to be sacked and I am being cruelly targeted for abuse. I believe the party - from the very top - needs to take action in Lanarkshire to stamp out this kind of abusive, intolerant and bullying behaviour to which I have been mercilessly exposed.”
John Deighan, chief executive of pro-life campaign group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, condemned the treatment of the MP.
He said: “It greatly troubles me that Abortion advocates have radicalised politics in such a way that they have undermined our democracy.
“The persecution of an elected politician for voting in a way they don’t like exposes the depth of their intolerance. It's a disgraceful and unacceptable position that has been deliberately cultivated.
“Vilification is now routinely used as a tactic by pro-abortion advocates to crush debate and invite hateful attacks on those with a differing opinion. Those who believe in democracy need to expose the culprits responsible and defend genuine democratic values.”
SPUC communications director Michael Robinson said:
“The harassment and intimidation Lisa Cameron has experienced is extremely alarming. The comments made by influential SNP figures are clearly motivated by religious intolerance and must be addressed urgently by the party leadership. The question for Ms Sturgeon is: Do individuals with a religious conviction have a place within the SNP?”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
- Dr Cameron will be available by previous appointment for broadcast interviews only at her constituency office in East Kilbride on the afternoon of Friday July 12
- Contact Details:
- Dr Lisa Cameron
- Tel: 01355 587430
- Constituency office, Civic Centre, Andrew St, East Kilbride, G74 1AB
For further information contact
John Deighan, Deputy CEO of SPUC:
- Tel: 0141 221 2094
- Mob: 07802 739265