A LIBERAL Democrat MSP has been urged to offer a "full, unequivocal apology" after appearing to swear at an SNP minister while on mute during a virtual Holyrood committee meeting. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton has since admitted to losing his temper and muttering "something under my breath that I shouldn’t have".

He said he was frustrated at the Scottish Government "backsliding on children’s rights".

Maree Todd, Scotland's minister for childcare and early years, said she believed the outburst was directed at her.


SNP MSP Rona Mackay branded Mr Cole-Hamilton's apology "half-baked".

She said: "Politicians of all parties have a moral obligation to lead by example and must be held to the highest standards. 

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"Alex Cole-Hamilton must now offer an unequivocal apology for his disgraceful outburst rather than blaming the woman on the receiving end of his bile.

"Political leaders have a responsibility to call out this kind of contemptible behaviour too, even if it happens within their own party. 

"It’s time for [Scottish LibDem leader] Willie Rennie to take responsibility and ensure this kind of behaviour is not allowed to go on unchecked.

"Mr Cole-Hamilton should reflect on what message vile behaviour like this sends to women considering a career in politics

"Female politicians are already subject to enough appalling misogynist intimidation without being the target of venomous, foul-mouthed abuse from male colleagues during important parliamentary business.

"My message to Mr Cole-Hamilton is clear - stop hiding behind a half-baked apology and set the record straight now."

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It came after Ms Todd tweeted: "Those who spotted this at the time at committee thought it was directed at me.

"Having seen the footage I’m inclined to agree.

"The swearing is appalling but the face contorted with anger also requires some explanation. Be grateful to hear it."

Mr Cole-Hamilton, who represents Edinburgh Western, replied: "Hands up, I lost my temper here. I was frustrated by your government backsliding on children’s rights once again (as long-grassing UNCRC [the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child] incorporation would have been). 

"Nevertheless I muttered something under my breath that I shouldn’t have and I apologise."

A spokesman for the Scottish LibDems said the party had "nothing to add".