Stuart MacLennan, UK Politician, Fired For Abusive Tweets

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LONDON — Britain's governing Labour Party fired a candidate in the national election Friday after he made offensive and profane comments about his political foes on his Twitter account.

Stuart MacLennan, who was running in the Moray district in northern Scotland, made a litany of obscene attacks on rival parties and labeled elderly voters as "coffin dodgers."

The 24-year-old MacLennan, who wasn't expected to win the seat now held by the Scottish Nationalist Party, is the first scalp of Britain's election campaign, which began Tuesday and ends with a May 6 poll.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose Labour trails the Conservatives in opinion polls, said MacLennan's Twitter comments were unacceptable and demanded he resigned.

"We cannot have people standing as candidates for the Labour Party who express these views, so that candidate will not be a candidate for the Labour Party," Brown said.

Labour has been eager to use Twitter and other social networking Web sites in the campaign, even appointing one of its lawmakers as a so-called Twitter czar to coordinate its online efforts.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said MacLennan had few excuses for his remarks. "He was keen to engage voters through Twitter, but that's no excuse for the rubbish and offensive and hurtful comments that he made," Murphy, a Labour lawmaker, told the BBC.

Issuing an apology, MacLennan said he "been stupid and rightly paid a high price."

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