A row has erupted after YES Scotland campaigners were asked to leave a school fair this week.
Falkirk Council’s education spokesman Councillor Alan Nimmo said he was furious pro-independence campaigners had turned up at Grangemouth High School’s Youth Fair on Tuesday morning, set up a stall in the foyer and proceeded to hand out leaflets and wristbands to pupils and take pictures with the youngsters.
The council has apologised for ppreviously issuing a statement saying there was no authorisation for the group to attend, but after an investigation it said the group was given permission by a member of staff “inadvertently”, and that no political parties were invited to the event.
The fair included representatives from local air and sea cadet units, Young Scot, RSPB and library staff.
Councillor Nimmo claimed YES campaigners, who included Falkirk East MSP and former councillor Angus MacDonald, did not have official permission to be there and were subsequently asked to vacate the premises.
Councillor Nimmo said: “This should never have been allowed to happen. It’s unacceptable when it comes to school security.
“They had no authorisation to be there and I will be complaining to Blair Jenkins, chief executive officer of the YES Scotland campaign.”
An education spokesperson said: ‘Our earlier statement was based on information given in good faith at that time however, subsequent enquiries have revealed that permission to attend may have been given by a member of staff inadvertently.
“We apologise for this error and the embarrassment this may have caused and make it clear it was never our intention to mislead anyone. It is still the case that no political parties were invited to this event.
“Youth fairs are taking place in all of our secondary schools to let pupils know about the many opportunities and services available in the local area.”
SNP Group leader Cecil Meiklejohn said campaigners had been given verbal permission to attend by a member of the council’s community learning and development staff.
A YES Scotland spokesman said: “It would appear campaigners were asked to leave halfway through the event because the No campaign was either unable or disinclined to take part and there was a complaint made alleging imbalance.”
The September 18, 2014 referendum will pose the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
YES Scotland, a campaign in favour of independence, was launched on May 25, 2012, and is supported by the SNP, the Scottish Green Party and Scottish Socialist Party.
Better Together, the campaign in favour of Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom, was launched on June 25, 2012, and is supported by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties.