RURAL Clydesdale MP David Mundell was this week taking a low-key attitude to his near-mobbing at the opening ceremony of a new food bank he was guest of honour at on Friday.
As many had predicted, the sight of Scotland’s only Conservative Member of Parliament declaring open a facility many blame his party’s policies for making necessary was too much of a temptation for anti-austerity campaigners to resist.
On arriving at the event at Dumfries the new Secretary of State for Scotland managed to avoid the protesters waiting outside the building by entering through a back door.
However, on leaving after the opening ceremony - and despite a substantial police presence - the protesters surrounded his official car and shouted abuse at him, the word “shame” being prominent amongst the comments directed at him.
BBC Scotland reported the number of protesters at “around thirty” while the food bank organisers estimated over three times that number took part.
Later, the MP played down the incident, pointing out that, as the Constituency MP, it was part of his duties to attend functions to which he had been invited, especially by the voluntary sector.
He said: “Throughout 16 years as an elected representative, I have consistently supported and engaged with local organisations, regardless of whether or not they support Government policy. That’s my job as a local MP.
“I have worked closely with the Trussell Trust. We had a very productive discussion this morning and I have had the opportunity to thank staff and volunteers.
“This facility will do important work to support some of my constituents who find themselves in difficulty, alongside the support which the UK and Scottish governments and the local council provides.
“As I have said before, the reasons behind foodbank use are complex and varied and every individual case is different.
“Disappointingly some people continually see this as an opportunity to score political points, which makes constructive discussion difficult.”