A politician at the centre of a hoax terror threat has vowed not to be intimidated by “bullies and extremists” hell-bent on spreading fear.
Moray MP Angus Robertson was targeted in a “bizarre” note posted to a Keith pub on Thursday, allegedly from “the UK IS support group”.
It contained a mysterious white powder, as well as references to Scotland becoming “a Muslim state” and sparked a massive security alert just the day after the Westminster attack.
Mr Robertson, the SNP group’s Westminster leader, was in the House of Commons when terrorist Khalid Masood struck.
The suspicious letter, postmarked from Lancashire, arrived in his constituency less than 24 hours later – prompting emergency services to seal off the area for six hours as they investigated.
Last night, Mr Robertson said: “I utterly condemn this bizarre attempt to sow alarm and concern in the community.
“In the week when the police and security agencies have had to deal with serious terrorist attack on Westminster it is totally irresponsible for anyone to send a hoax letter, taking up the valuable time and resources of the emergency services.
“At a time when threats to parliamentarians are sadly on the rise I want to assure constituents that I will not be deterred from doing my job by bullies and extremists.”
The package, which was posted to Keith’s Crown Inn, sparked the lockdown of the town’s Reidhaven Square for six hours.
The letter inside – which was written in garbled English – asked “friends” to lend Mr Robertson their backing.
It intimated that he could help many of the supposed terror support group’s “brothers and sisters” join them in the UK by ensuring that the country remains part of the European Union.
It also referenced First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, who led a legal battle to get parliament to vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU.
A handwritten footnote referred to the white powder – which was wrapped in tin foil – as “a little treat from Angus, via [the] Gina Miller promotion company”.
Mr Robertson said he was not concerned that its message would be taken seriously.
He said: “The letter is an amateurish attempt to smear pro-Europeans and the SNP, and will be condemned by people of all mainstream political persuasions.”
Pub owner Jock McKay discovered the letter at 2.30pm on Thursday and several fire engines and police cars descended on the centre of Keith in case the material was dangerous.
Later that evening, police were able to confirm that it posed no threat – but said tests would be performed to determine what it was.
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Walker yesterday appealed for help in tracking down those responsible for the panic.
He said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish who sent this substance and why.
“It goes without saying that incidents of this nature are extremely rare in this area, and we are liaising with the relevant specialists and authorities as part of our investigation.”
Anyone with information or concerns should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.