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Jim Murphy: I'm stopping speaking tour until Yes camp call off the attack dogs

Labour's Jim Murphy has suspended his 100 towns in 100 days tour of Scotland for the pro-UK Better Together, blaming the Yes campaign for co-ordinating mobs intimidating his staff and the public.

The East Renfrewshire MP said he was awaiting advice from Police Scotland as well as promises by the hierarchy of the Yes campaign that they would "call off the attack dogs" before restarting the tour.

The decision came less than 24 hours after he was struck by an egg addressing crowds in Kirkcaldy.  

Mr Murphy, who claimed he had been challenged to a fight in Aberdeen and described his hecklers as "nationalist mobs", said: "The blame lies at the door of Yes Scotland. They should stop this intimidation."

He insisted his decision to publicise the suspension and show videos of hostile crowds at his shopping precinct debates was "not about showing opponents in the worst possible light".

But he claimed disruption of his events in recent days was being pulled together officially by Yes Scotland, claiming they had in one instance been gathering at the campaign's local headquarters and publicising his tour on Yes Facebook pages.

He added many of those involved in recent disruption of his street meetings, of which more than 80 have been completed, had been following his tour to various stop-offs, putting a total figure of those involved in the hundreds.

Mr Murphy also claimed the antagonism was one-way and that there was no equivalent of such abuse directed against the Yes campaign.

He added: "We are not going to be silenced and intimidated by a noisy nationalist mob."

A spokesperson for Yes Scotland said: "We condemn all forms of abusive, dangerous and offensive behaviour, whether it be Jim Murphy having eggs thrown at him, or Alex Salmond being harassed by a road rage motorist.

"For the most part, the independence debate has been conducted in a responsible, peaceful and enthusiastic manner with only a very small minority on both sides behaving badly. The eyes of the world are on Scotland and it is vital that everybody - regardless of which side of the debate they are on - helps to show off Scotland at its best."

Mr Murphy's announcement came after both David Cameron and Mr Salmond condemned the egg-throwing incident in Kirkcaldy on Thursday and addressed the tension as the countdown to the referendum gathers pace and heat.

Mr Cameron, visting Royal Navy supplier MacTaggart Scott's marine engineering workshop in Loanhead, Midlothian,  said: "I think the responsibility for the people doing these things lies with the people doing these things.

"I've always thought that it isn't right to throw eggs at people - I had one myself in Cornwall once, it's an interesting experience - and I'm sure other party leaders would take the same view.

"It's a vigorous debate with lots of argument, there's nothing wrong with a bit of heckling but throwing things isn't necessarily part of the democratic process."

He also commented on claims made to him by companies over the Scottish Government's response to firms that have come out in favour of keeping the United Kingdom together.

"I think it's good that companies are speaking out," he said. "I think some of them have been cautious about speaking out because there have been slightly aggressive tactics.

"That's what I hear, I don't have direct evidence, but a number of businesses have said to me that they are worried about speaking out because you get shouted at down the telephone."

He added: "You do hear a lot of business say that they are frightened of speaking out, because they say that they find the way the Scottish Government behaves can be rather bullying and overbearing.

"I think if that's true it's very regrettable, and I think people should be free to speak out. Certainly businesses that speak out in the other direction haven't had threatening telephone calls from me."

The First Minister echoed his condemnation of the egg-throwing, and said a "road rage" incident, where he was tailed by another motorist waving a No sign at him, was a "very bad example" of what could happen in political campaigns.

But he said no responsible politician should seek to take advantage of such protests, as he insisted that the overwhelming majority of Scots were "enjoying the most invigorating, scintillating, exciting debate in our political history".

After independence campaigners staged a noisy protest outside a Glasgow hotel where Mr Cameron was speaking last night, Mr Salmond stressed the "right of peaceful protest", adding that people were "entitled to demonstrate outside a white tie function, the only safe audience the Prime Minister thinks he has in Scotland".

While he said people had "every entitlement to peaceful protest" he stated: "People shouldn't throw eggs at somebody full stop, that's something that happens in elections. I remember John Prescott getting a bit energised about it in a UK election. It shouldn't happen - I don't think it's at the serious end of things - but it shouldn't happen.

"The road rage incident was a very bad example but I don't make that an issue. I don't make the death threats from a few daft people I've had an issue, because I know know 99.9% of people in Scotland are enjoying and being energised by a wonderful political debate.

"All politicians should beware, yes of course we call for good conduct, on line and off line, yes of course we do. But don't confuse the actions of a few people with the 99.9% of the people of Scotland who are enjoying the most invigorating, scintillating, exciting debate in our political history.

"And don't try to take advantage of an incident, because I certainly wouldn't, and I'm sure no other responsible politician would want to do that."

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