DOUGLAS Ross clashed with an SNP minister over the abuse of a journalist by fringe members of the independence movement in a row which derailed a conversation about defence projects in Scotland.

Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government’s Business Minister, appeared before a committee of MPs on Monday to take questions on military shipbuilding in Scotland.

But the conversation went off-piste when the Scottish Tory leader confronted McKee over posts made by a Yes voter attacking George Allison, the editor of the UK Defence Journal.

David Hynds, who tweets as @eRestUK, created a post about Allison on Monday calling him “wee George” and claiming he writes “utter garbage”.

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Screenshots posted by Allison, show others questioning where he lives, which he said had left him “genuinely worried”.

The furore broke out a few hours before McKee appeared before the Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster.

Ross, who called the 2014 referendum “divisive” during the exchange, took issue with the minister’s description of the event as a “civil-mannered” and “democratic” process.

Ross told McKee: “George Allison is the editor of the UK Defence Journal, he’s also submitted evidence to our inquiry here for our UK Parliament’s committee enquiry into military shipbuilding in Scotland.

“He’s tweeted within the last hour that he’s genuinely worried, that this morning he’s found a harassment campaign conducted against him.

“People have been posting his details and asking where he lives because of comments he’s made about military shipbuilding in Scotland as part of his work as a journalist on the UK Defence Journal.

“Do you think that is acceptable and as a member of the Scottish Government, would you call out anyone, including [Hynds’ page], which has been highlighted as delivering a lot of this abuse, would you call this out as a representative of the Scottish Government?

“What could you do to encourage others to be informed about this debate, be involved in this debate, but to do so in a respectful manner?”

Ross added: "The post and its comments encouraged people to visit Mr Allison's personal Facebook account and post abuse."

McKee said it was he would “condemn” harassment but said he was not aware of the incident to which Ross was referring.

He added: “We ask everyone to take part in this debate in a civilised manner.”

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McKee highlighted he had also faced abuse from Unionists, and said he had reported some to the authorities.

Allison appears to have been made the subject of abuse because he had published an article detailing defence contracts which would see ships being built in Scotland, something Ross described as “absolutely wrong”.

Allison said he has reported the matter to police, adding: “I tried to engage with [Hynds] on this, offering to chat to him about the article but instead he blocked me before posting more abuse to his audience. Journalism in Scotland is becoming dangerous, my crime was simply posting a list of ships and their launch dates.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “On the afternoon of Monday, September 5, 2022, a report was received regarding alleged online harassment in the Cambuslang area. Enquiries are at an early stage.”