A UNION chief has said he would be “astonished” if STV had bowed to pressure from any political party by censoring its journalists, following claims that the broadcaster’s digital politics and comment editor Stephen Daisley had been gagged after alleged “bullying” by the SNP.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which represents journalists working in all media across Scotland, also said no-one had approached it with any complaints of censoring.

The NUJ’s national organiser Paul Holleran said: “I would be astonished if STV bowed to any pressure and introduced censorship in the newsroom, but if anyone wants to bring any complaints to me I will certainly raise it.

“I am astonished at these reports because no-one has come to me about it. I would have thought that if any company was censoring members then I would have been informed. I would be very surprised if that was the case this time round.”

The SNP denied any pressure was put on STV over Daisley’s controversial comments and that no complaints had been made about the journalist.

An SNP spokesman said: “The party hasn’t made any complaint, it’s up to STV to decide its own editorial policy and to answer to the reasons for any changes. At no point have the SNP or any of its parliamentarians asked for Mr Daisley to stop writing, and any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue. Any editorial decisions are entirely – and rightly – a matter for STV.”

Accusations of “gagging” and “bullying” came from Scottish Conservative culture spokesman Jackson Carlaw in reports that STV had not published any of Daisley’s articles since July 19 despite him contributing two or three a week since 2014.

Carlaw said: “There are two elements of real concern here. Firstly, a broadcaster as mainstream as STV is buckling to nationalist pressure. Secondly, the SNP continues to believe it can behave in this fashion.

“Gagging journalists is totally unacceptable in Scotland. However, it seems SNP high command feels it can bully broadcasters and that even STV will be forced to oblige.”

STV also denied the claims and said “there will be further comment on the website in future” from Daisley, who is still their online comments editor. The broadcaster said he remained a key contributor but its output had “evolved”.

A spokesperson for STV said: “STV continues to develop and invest in political coverage, particularly since the launch of our enhanced digital news service earlier this year. Our output and content will continue to evolve and Stephen Daisley, digital politics and comments editor, is a key contributor to this as we enter the new parliamentary sessions.”

Daisley has regularly courted controversy in his online content.

He called himself “a friend” of Labour, accused Jeremy Corbyn of tolerating anti-Semites, and said the SNP were “expert at mining grievance from even the most innocuous act or statement” and had the “preponderance of zoomers” in Scottish politics.

John Nicolson: A political editor who airs their personal views is behaving unprofessionally

He also regularly criticises The National’s popular Scots language columnist Rab Wilson and in his latest tweet, wrote: “In case you live down south and are too polite to ask: No, no one in Scotland actually speaks like this.”

SNP culture spokesman John Nicolson and the chairman of the Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee, Pete Wishart, have questioned Daisley’s neutrality over his comments on Twitter in the past.

Nicolson, a former BBC journalist who is now MP for East Dunbartonshire, wrote: “[Daisley] is meant to be a neutral journalist – not an activist.”

In June, Wishart questioned whether Daisley’s views on Twitter were his own or “just the view of the ‘digital arm’ of the STV family?”. That got reaction from JK Rowling in a tweet which said:“Is trying to intimidate journalists you dislike @theSNP policy or just a vendetta of your own?”

Reports also suggested complaints were raised about Daisley’s digital content at an event hosted by STV executives at Westminster in the spring. However, Wishart insisted the event was an annual meeting with STV which is open to all Scottish members and Lords and at no time did any SNP politician put pressure on STV or make any official complaints about Daisley.

He added: “At this meeting there were about four Labour peers and a couple of Liberal Democrats, and others. It was not a private meeting with STV, myself and John Nicolson.

“This is an annual event and it is a conversation about the full range of activities of Scottish Television and a whole host of things they want to present to us.

“It is no great secret that I am not a fan of the commentary and digital output of Scottish Television. I think it is awful. There is an issue at the heart of their digital output.

“I think what has happened here is STV have come to that conclusion themselves and want to improve it.”

Nicolson also said he had made no official complaint to STV about Daisley. Daisley refused to comment.