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21 January 2006
SNP FACE MORE FLAK OVER FLAG ATTACKS

THE SNP came under fresh attack yesterday over a press release calling the Union Flag "the butcher's apron" and a "tarnished global image".

Glasgow MSP Sandra White disowned the comments sent out in her name earlier this week.

She claimed it had been put out by mistake by an "over-enthusiastic" researcher

But yesterday, the researcher at the centre of the row, Mark Hirst, released a private email suggesting White had approved much of the controversial statement

The email, from White to Hirst, said "press release good until last two paras".

It asked Hirst to delete the bottom part of the statement, which linked the Union Flag with Boer War concentration camps and attacks on civilians in the Iraq war.

But the email suggests White did approve claims that "most Scots" referred to the Union Flag as the "butcher's apron" and that it was a "tarnished global image".

The comments caused a storm of protest from Labour and Tory MSPs.

Hirst resigned as White's researcher on Thursday, though' he will continue working for SNP MSP Christine Grahame

He said he had published the private email "as I believe my professional integrity is being undermined".

White was not available for comment.

Yesterday, Tory MSP Bill Aitken said the new email confirmed "bigoted anti-Englishness and anti-Britishness" at the heart of the SNP."

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