The Scouts have complained to the SNP after a woman wearing their uniform was featured in a party political broadcast.
The SNP was accused by the Conservatives of dragging the famous youth movement into politics following the transmission of the short film.
The Scouts suggested the broadcast had been in breach of its rules, which insist the organisation is apolitical and members must not endorse candidates of any persuasion when in uniform.
The SNP responded by pointing out that Chief Scout Bear Grylls had been at the UK Tory conference in uniform in 2017 – an appearance that led to accusations that the adventurer had broken his organisation’s rules.
The film, which was shown on BBC and STV on Monday evening as well as some months before, involved members of the public explaining why they had changed position from No to Yes on Scottish independence since the 2014 referendum.
It featured a woman named Helene from Kirkhill who wore the distinctive Scouts uniform complete with scarf and woggle.
She indicated that Brexit had made her change her views on independence.
“They told us that if we voted to leave (the UK) Scotland would no longer be part of the European community,” she said.
“For my children, I feel an independent Scotland is going to give them the opportunity to be part of something bigger.”
2/2: must not endorse any political party or candidate. We have spoken to the SNP, reported the situation to OSCR and the issue has been investigated at a local level through our complaints procedure.
— Scouts Scotland (@ScoutsScotland) October 13, 2020
But her contribution resulted in Scouts Scotland taking to twitter to say the organisation was aware the broadcast included a “leader in uniform” and had reported the matter to the SNP and the charities’ regulator.
‘The SNP need to apologise’
“The Scout Association is not connected with any political body and have (sic) rules which state that members when in uniform or when representing The Scouts must not endorse any political party or candidate,” the organisation’s twitter feed said.
“We have spoken to the SNP, reported the situation to OSCR and the issue has been investigated at local level through our complaints procedure.”
Scottish Tory chief whip Miles Briggs said: “The SNP have questions to answer about how they let this happen.
“They’ve been caught out blatantly trying to misrepresent the Scouts and drag them into politics.
“This must be investigated further and the SNP need to apologise for misleading the public.”
An SNP spokesman said: “The Chief Scout appeared on stage at Tory party conference in his full uniform in 2017, so we’re somewhat surprised by these comments.
“It is also disappointing to read this media statement today given we engaged with Scouts Scotland several months ago when this broadcast was first on TV.”