General News

Alba Party sees controversy after anti-LGBTQ+ comments

Rachel Badham April 13, 2021

Margaret Lynch

Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party in Scotland has come under fire after candidate Margaret Lynch falsely accused Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland of campaigning to lower the age of consent. At Alba’s Women’s Conference on April 10, Lynch reportedly claimed that the two LGBTQ+ groups were advocating for reducing the age of consent to 10,  as they are members of ILGA World, which aims to “eliminate all laws and policies that punish or criminalise same-sex intimacy”, but does not campaign for lowering the age of consent. 

Following her comments, ILGA released a statement confirming that it “categorically, and in no uncertain terms, does not advocate to eliminate or lower the general age of consent, nor supports paedophilia in any way, shape or form – and never has”. It described Lynch’s words as “false allegations”, and said: “These spurious claims, as old as homophobia itself, are dangerous and irresponsible, and we urge those making or sharing them, to stop.”

Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, and Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, also released a joint statement condemning her attack on LGBTQ+ activist groups: In making these accusations, she is repeating deeply harmful myths about LGBT+ people as paedophiles and sexual predators. It’s the oldest trick in the homophobic book of lies…We will not stand for this. Her comments have been deeply upsetting for LGBTQ+ people in Scotland and beyond.” The statement called on Lynch to retract her comments, and asked for Scottish politicians to “condemn this behaviour and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities.” 

The organisation shared the statement on Twitter, calling the accusations “baseless and offensive”. Many shared words of support for Stonewall, with one social media user saying: “It is ridiculous that this should even need stating. Anyone with any integrity would know that neither group promotes reducing the age of consent.” Another added: “Glad to see you’re taking some kind of action against this. I’d like to see you guys sue, as a bit of backlash is needed in their direction, but an apology is a great start.”

Austin Sheridan

Following the controversy, Austin Sheridan, a former SNP councillor and Alba member, quit his position and shared a statement on social media where he described Lynch’s words as “hideous”, and that there is “no way I can be part of a party that tolerates such views.” Lynch has not yet responded to the situation.