Did Kirsty Blackman genuinely retweet a call for Joanna Cherry to be expelled? Any chance a screenshot was doctored or something like that? It's extraordinary (and appalling) if she did.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) October 4, 2021
The fiction that Joanna Cherry was sacked because she's "not a team player" is wearing a bit thin. There's clearly been a very nasty, bitter vendetta against her from some of her colleagues.https://t.co/ubB6Q0mbxw— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) October 4, 2021
No matter who you are or what you do no one is immune from the curse of workplace bullying. It can be a dark & lonely experience so if you know someone in that position offer them support. Trust me it makes the world of difference— Joanna Cherry QC (@joannaccherry) October 4, 2021
Have deleted an earlier RT. I am clear though, @theSNP needs to do more to tackle internal transphobia, including sanctioning or expelling those in the party who are transphobic.— Kirsty Blackman (@KirstySNP) October 4, 2021
As you can see, Kirsty Blackman's eventual attempt to draw a line under this episode did not involve an apology - it was simply an announcement of a deletion without any explanation of either the original retweet or of the deletion itself. That being the case, I don't think it's unreasonable that she should be invited to answer the following questions to clear the matter up rather more satisfactorily...
* Did you not read the tweet properly before retweeting it? All of us have been guilty of that sort of carelessness at some point in time, but is that what you're claiming happened in this case?
* If you did read the tweet properly, why did you knowingly retweet a call for one of your MP colleagues to be expelled from the SNP?
* Do you, in fact, believe Joanna Cherry should be expelled?
* If you do believe Joanna Cherry should be expelled, why did you delete the retweet?
* Does your clarification imply that you want transphobes to be expelled, but that you accept that this principle does not apply to Joanna Cherry because she is plainly not transphobic? If so, have you apologised to her for the confusion?
* Do you accept that calling for a colleague to be expelled, when that colleague is in fact in good standing, should in itself be a disciplinary offence? If not, why not?
When Ms Cherry was sacked from the frontbench, I said that one of my big concerns was that it might prove to be merely a staging post, and that the next step would be to make it a little less unthinkable for spurious disciplinary action to be taken against her, with a view to eventually having her suspended or expelled. That may have seemed a tad outlandish when I said it. It looks a hell of a lot less outlandish now, and we're only a few short months further on. The many decent people who decided to stay in the SNP after Alba broke away in the spring now need to stand up and be counted. They don't need to lose their party - there's nothing inevitable about it. But time may be running short.