Alex Salmond defends Alba Party candidate Margaret Lynch in age of consent row

Alex Salmond has been forced to defend an Alba Party candidate who caused outrage after she falsely claimed two LGBT charities were proponents of lowering the age of consent to 10.

Margaret Lynch told an online women’s conference last weekend that proponents of “queer theory” wanted to lower the age of consent by six years.

The Alba Party candidate also criticised the funding of Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland by the Scottish Government.

But the remarks were flatly denied by both charities who said they were “appalled” by Lynch’s remarks and claimed she was “repeating deeply harmful myths about LGBT+ people as paedophiles and sexual predators.”

They have today called for her to apologise and retract the comments made on Saturday.

But Salmond has since defended his candidate and revealed the party had reported several tweets aimed at Lynch to the police.

He said: “This was a safe space conference where Alba women were encouraged to express their concerns over a range of subjects. It resulted in our party’s policy statement on women and equalities.

“Women participating are entitled to do so without being subjected to Twitter pile-ons or even worse threats of violence. Thus we are drawing the line.

“People who threaten our women candidates will be held to account. Men who put at risk women’s jobs and livelihoods will be faced down.

“In an election campaign people often do and say foolish things but we shall not have our female candidates bullied or threatened. That stops right now.

“Apart from anything else Margaret Lynch was defending the rights of women in Scottish society while these keyboard warriors were in nappies. The irony of people advocating hate speech legislation while simultaneously resorting themselves to physical threat and bullying behaviour is substantial.”

He added: “Let me be clear. As the First Minister who introduced equal marriage in Scotland, I would never tolerate any homophobic behaviour.

“Women are entitled to raise concerns without being targeted in this fashion. If people wish to disagree then by all means go ahead. But our candidates are entitled to speak their minds at safe space events without being traduced or intimidated. Alba will protect their right to do so.”

In a statement, LGBT Youth Scotland called on Lynch to apologise and to retract her accusations.

It read: “We are appalled by the baseless and offensive accusations made by Alba parliamentary candidate Margaret Lynch on Saturday.

“What she said was not only untrue, but it was also a wilful, bad faith interpretation made for the sole purpose of trying to smear LGBT+ organisations.

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“Her allegations have been refuted in the strongest terms by ILGA World.”

Lynch’s reportedly come from an interpretation of the term “adolescent” adopted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), a worldwide alliance of LGBTI groups including Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland.

ILGA signed a women’s rights declaration, which includes demands to “end the criminalisation and stigmatisation of adolescents’ sexuality . . . including laws limiting legal capacity of adolescents, people with disabilities or other groups to provide consent to sex”.

Despite the declaration not defining the term ‘adolescents’, it was suggested by one pro-independence blogger that it referred to the World Health Organisations’ definition, which classes an adolescent as someone aged 10-19.

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