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Pressure on Labour leader as MSP launches outburst against pro-Union campaign

SCOTTISH Labour leader Johann Lamont was last night under pressure to discipline one of her frontbenchers after he poked fun at the pro-Union Better Together campaign and former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, writes Tom Gordon.

Shadow skills minister Neil Findlay took a swipe at his erstwhile allies during a debate on independence at the Edinburgh People's Festival, which was captured on video. The left-winger, who is a member of the Red Paper collective – which supports greater devolution – ridiculed the Better Together movement, which has its origins in a cross-party meeting at Darling's Edinburgh home.

Darling lives in a Morningside street where houses average £650,000, but Findlay joked about him living in Pilton, a deprived area of the capital.

He said: "We had that nice man Alistair Darling and he had tea and home baking provided by his wife at his flat in Pilton. It is Pilton that Alistair stays in isn't it? Along with Comrade [Tory MSP David] McLetchie, wee Dougie Alexander [shadow foreign secretary] and somebody I've never heard of from the LibDems but he's probably never heard of me either."

Commenting on the launch of Better Together in June, at which Lamont was present and at which former Scots Tory leader Annabel Goldie took to the stage, Findlay said: "We got treated to the stirring rhetoric of the said Mr Darling and then Annabel Goldie playing Mrs Merton, interviewing 'normal Scots'.

"Why any self-respecting 'normal Scot' would want to speak to Annabel Goldie I've no idea."

Findlay, a former councillor, also joked the last election was "so bloody bad [for Labour] that I got elected".

Gordon MacDonald, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, said: "The focus is on Johann Lamont. With a member of her front bench openly criticising the anti-independence campaign with impunity, are all Labour MSPs now allowed to do as they please?"

Scottish Labour did not comment.

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