Members of an anti-vaccine party made a “beeline” for Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf at the Glasgow election count – before members of other political parties joined the SNP to confront them.
It comes as the SNP will be the “leading and largest party” in the new Scottish Parliament, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has declared – though he said it is still too early to say if the party will win an overall majority at Holyrood.
Mr Swinney, also the Education Secretary in the Scottish Government, comfortably held his Perthshire North seat, increasing his majority over the Tories.
His was among the first handful of seats to declare as votes were counted after polling day on Thursday.
The coronavirus pandemic meant that traditional overnight counting was impossible, with the results instead being announced over the course of Friday and Saturday.
Mr Swinney said the SNP – led by Nicola Sturgeon – is on track for an “historic” fourth term in power at Holyrood.
He said: “It is an enormous pleasure to see the prospects of the return of an SNP government for a fourth historic term, given the scale of the vote that my party is experiencing the length and breadth of the country.”
In Blackford Tweeted: “The news that turnout is up across Scotland is a victory for democracy and shows people are engaged in this historic election
“I’m proud @theSNP extended the vote to 16 & 17 year olds, refugees and foreign nationals with leave to remain – with many voting for the first time.”
The news that turnout is up across Scotland is a victory for democracy and shows people are engaged in this historic election.— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) May 7, 2021
🏴 I’m proud @theSNP extended the vote to 16 & 17 year olds, refugees and foreign nationals with leave to remain – with many voting for the first time.
Derek Jackson, a candidate for Glasgow Southside, arrived at the count with supporters wearing black suits, yellow stars and armbands.
They claimed their yellow stars were “sheriff’s badges” – though they had “unvax” written on them.
Mr Jackson, who is also known as Deek Jackson, is standing for the Liberal Party – a small group unconnected to the Liberal Democrats.
Speaking to reporters after the incident, Mr Yousaf said: “What I’m always struck by is voices of good always outweigh the voices of hatred.
“If anyone witnessed that exchange there – when they were directing questions at me about Pakistan, obviously because of my colour of skin, I’m not from Pakistan, my home is in Scotland.
“I was delighted to be joined my colleagues right across the political parties, from Labour and other parties, standing in unity with me.
“So I’m pleased their voices were drowned out.
“You had six muppets here and then you very quickly had 25 people on the other side telling them where to go. That to me is the best of Scotland really.”
Mr Yousaf said the Liberal Party made a “beeline” for him and asked him about “child rape victims in Pakistan” as well as the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Bill.
He later tweeted: “Twice these cretins have approached me, targeting ethnic minority candidates demanding we apologise for things going on in Pakistan.
“Always said voices of good outweigh the bad.
“When these numbskulls started, people of all political parties joined with me to tell them to jog on.”
Mr Jackson and his supporters later said they were wearing yellow stars and armbands to be “love marshals”.
He said: “I hope none of you are stupid enough to believe we are promoting fascism.
“When plainly and obviously we are here to satire and parody the fascist SNP hate laws.”
The Liberal Party candidate and his supporters were later escorted from the Emirates Arena by police and security staff.
Returning officer Annemarie O’Donnell is understood to have revoked their passes for the election count after being concerned by further behaviour from the group.