Labour MP leaves media role after Hitler video gaffe

Posted on January 22, 2012

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written for the New Statesman – words by Robert Pollard

Tom Harris causes further embarrassment to Labour after uploading spoof video of Alex Salmond.

Labour MP, Tom Harris, has quit his role as internet advisor for the Scottish Labour Party after posting a video depicting First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond as Hitler.

The video, which has previously been used to mock various high profile politicians such as Gordon Brown, takes footage from the movie Downfall, a film focused on Hitler’s final 12 days in Nazi Germany, with the subtitled words of Alex Salmond added to the images.

Harris has since apologised for his role in the incident but after a meeting with leader Johann Lamont he decided to step down.

Harris, the Labour MP for Glasgow South, said:

“Having spoken to Johann, I have decided to step down from leading the party’s social media review.

The video I posted has been a well worn joke used to parody a range of public figures.

However, context is everything and in the context of Johann’s and my desire to improve the level of political debate on social media and the context of Joan McAlpine‘s much more serious statements about all political opponents of the SNP being anti-Scottish, my actions have been an unhelpful distraction for which I apologise.”

Harris ran for leadership of the Scottish Labour Party last year before losing badly to Lamont at the ballot box. The incident provides further embarrassment for Labour who have suffered a series of unhelpful events in recent weeks, including Maurice Glasman’s critique of Ed Miliband’s leadership skills.

SNP ministers have been quick to condemn the footage, claiming the video is “tasteless” and “hugely embarrassing” for Labour.

A spokesperson for the SNP added that: “It is silly, negative nonsense like this that helps explain why Labour are in the doldrums in Scotland”.

Labour responded by claiming that the party were keen to engage in “an adult debate” about the future of Scotland, adding that “Attention is now focussing again on the SNP’s refusal to take any action against their official ministerial aide Joan McAlpine for outrageously questioning people’s Scottishness and patriotism if, like most people, they don’t support separation.”

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Posted in: Politics