ECK IN DIRTY TRICKS STORM; TORIES AND LIB DEMS BACK 'THREAT' MP Labour Claim Salmond Is Using Abuse Claim to Try to Force Davidson Out
Byline: Torcuil Crichton
ALEX SALMOND has been accused of orchestrating a smear campaign against Labour's Ian Davidson over claims he threatened to give an SNP MP "a doing".
The First Minister led calls for Davidson to resign as chairman of the Commons Scottish affairs committee after Eilidh Whiteford quit the body in protest.
Yesterday, as the Labour MP denied making any threat, the Tories and Lib Dems backed his version of events.
Dr Whiteford, the only SNP member of the committee, claimed Davidson threatened to "give her a doing" if she leaked details of a private meeting last week.
DISREPUTE The Banff and Buchan MP vowed not to return until he quits.
But Labour said they had looked into the matter carefully and it was "totally clear" that Davidson did not threaten or try to threaten Dr Whiteford last week.
A party spokeswoman added: "To suggest otherwise is a deliberate attempt to smear the chair of the committee, which brings politics into disrepute.
"It is never right to threaten a person - and it is never right to smear one either."
Labour claimed the smear was orchestrated at the highest levels of the SNP and called on Salmond to reverse his position.
Their version is that on the day of the committee meeting, Whiteford had been castigated by other members after issuing a premature press release about the members' plans.
Davidson then told Whiteford that she had been given "a doing" - in the past tense - and that the matter was over.
Afterwards, he told her the remark should not be taken in an offensive or sexual context.
The SNP then gave give their allegations a sexist twist when they released them on Tuesday.
As the committee met yesterday, Davidson told members: "I want to make it clear that I did not threaten anyone and did not intend to threaten anyone.
"I apologise if anyone took offence but reiterate that no threat was made or intended."
Committee members took it in turn to back his version of events. …