By a Newsnet reporter
A Labour peer has caused outrage after suggesting that any scepticism of the Labour party’s historic claims on Devolution was “akin to holocaust denial”.
Former Labour MP and MSP, George Foulkes, posted the remark in response to an opinion piece by Dr. James Wilkie of the SDA in which he cast doubt on claims by the Labour party that it was always fully committed to Devolution for Scotland.
The controversial piece by Dr. Wilkie, published on Newsnet Scotland, claimed that Westminster was forced into granting Scotland a devolved parliament only after pressure from the Council of Europe.
Dr. Wilkie, who is a representative of the Scottish Democratic Alliance, also claimed that a pressure group called the Scotland-UN Committee was key to the process that ended with the creation of the new Scottish Parliament.
Tweeting in response to the article, George Foulkes said: “CyberNat myth that Devolution was forced on the Labour Govt.by EU or Council of Europe (stories vary) is akin to Holocaust denial”
Cybernat is a derogatory term adopted by Unionists in order to describe online opponents of Unionism. When an MSP, Foulkes coined the term ‘Cybernats’ in order to describe those he termed “insomniac Nationalist bloggers”.
The holocaust remark has provoked responses from SNP politicians angry at the slur which comes soon after Holocaust Memorial Day.
SNP MSP Shona Robison called on the Labour peer to withdraw the remark and said: “You should withdraw this George before you are forced to. Totally insensitive given we've just marked Holocaust Memorial Day.”
SNP MP Stewart Hosie called the comment “low even by Labour standards”.
Earlier the Labour peer had said “members of SNP, who boycotted the Constitutional Convention, are lying that Council of Europe forced Devo on Labour- laughable!”
However Lord Foulkes appeared to backtrack on his earlier tweets suggesting members of the SNP were behind the claims when he tweeted: “Not everyone who supports Independence Referendum is CyberNat, but only those who dissemble and abuse the truth.”
Holocaust denial is the term used to describe the practice of refusing to believe the atrocities committed against Jews by Nazis during World War II that resulted in the deaths of an estimated six million people.
In 2006, British historian David Irving was found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of and sentenced to three years in prison.
The attacks on anyone not accepting Labour’s claims on Devolution follow revelations contained in the Sunday Herald that UK Government Ministers had blocked a Freedom of Information request to publish official documents relating to the lead up to the devolution referendum.
According to the newspaper, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and other senior LibDems vetoed the release by over-ruling a judgment of the UK's Information Commissioner.
The Sunday Herald said the files contain material that is “still so sensitive it could deepen current rows between the devolved governments and even spark new fights.”
The paper quote Attorney General Dominic Grieve as saying that the documents expose "divergent ministerial views", which would "seriously prejudice" the practice of collective cabinet responsibility, which obliges ministers to back government decisions.
According to the paper, in a statement of reasons, he said: "The matters discussed are manifestly not of purely historical interest and importance. Disclosure of minutes also gives rise to a real and significant risk that debates and discussions between the administrations would be prejudiced.
"A number of individuals have comments attributed to them in the minutes, including where they are not in agreement on certain policy issues."