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Highland MSP Kate Forbes hits back after Spectator columnist brands her as a ghastly woman over her stance on tourism during the coronavirus crisis

By Calum MacLeod

A columnist in a popular political magazines has caused an angry backlash after picking on a Highland MSP.

Rod Liddle – a regular contributor to The Spectator, which is edited by Fraser Nelson from Nairn – described Kate Forbes as a ghastly woman.

He was critical of her view that people should not be coming to the region to self-isolate during the coronavirus crisis.

"The virus spreads because we are a highly urbanised country and piled too closely to one another," Mr Liddle wrote.

"The more we can disperse and self isolate, the less likely the virus is to spread. Public spirited politicians should be urging us to get the hell out of urban areas. If you decide not to relocate, temporarily, to the Highlands, at least remember that this woman told you that you were not welcome in the first place."

He went to call for a boycott of the Highlands once the Covid-19 crisis is over, writing: "Leave it all to Kate, so she can enjoy solitude in those vast acres of emptiness characterised by economic stagnation, lice-filled fish farms and, er, English expats."

Kate Forbes.
Kate Forbes.

Ms Forbes has defended herself.

“This is about saving lives and I don’t apologise for caring about the wellbeing of the people I represent," she said.

“Mr Liddle will no doubt find that most people in the Highlands, of all political persuasions, fundamentally disagree with him.

“If his intention was to be controversial and create headlines then it might be wiser to do so about a subject that doesn’t risk lives.

“I stand by what I said and I’d say it again if it means more people getting to watch their grandchildren grow up.”

It is understood Mr Nelson is on sickness leave and was absent when Mr Liddle's contribution was published.

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