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MP Ian Blackford apologises to local photographer following Far North picture furore

By Gordon Calder

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MP Ian Blackford apologised after a row about a Caithness photo
MP Ian Blackford apologised after a row about a Caithness photo

MP Ian Blackford has apologised to a local photographer after a picture taken in Caithness caused a row and a backlash on social media.

Mr Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, phoned Ollie Taylor to offer his apologies after falsely accusing him of breaking lockdown rules.

Mr Taylor, who is from England but has been living in Halkirk since October, put a photo of the Northern Lights on social media as he is working on a book which features around 100 landscapes throughout Scotland.

The MP, who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber, saw the picture and tweeted: “As you live in the south of England and travel to Scotland is only for permitted reasons I am sure there will be a valid reason as to why you are posting a photo from the north of Scotland?”

Mr Blackford was criticised for the post and later withdrew it when he found out that the photographer was living in the far north.

Mr Taylor (40) confirmed that he had a phone call and apology from Mr Blackford but also said he received a lot of hate mail on social media following the MP’s original tweet.

“Whatever he wanted to achieve with that tweet has backfired on him,” he said.

Mr Taylor has talked to a solicitor but has made no decision about what, if any, action to take.

“I am a quiet person and am just trying to finish the book I am working on,” he said.

He explained he has not slept for nights because of the furore over the tweet and the reaction to it.

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