Glasgow & West Scotland

Yes campaigner denies lying about MP who allegedly assaulted her

Marie Rimmer
Image caption Marie Rimmer denies carrying out the assault outside a polling station

A Yes campaigner has told a trial that she did not lie about a Labour MP assaulting her on the day of the independence referendum.

Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens and Whiston, denies assaulting Patricia McLeish outside a Glasgow polling station on 18 September 2014.

On the second day of the trial, Ms McLeish was asked by defence lawyer Liam Ewing if she had made the claim up as part of a political campaign.

She replied: "Certainly not."

The trial, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, began in April.

Ms Rimmer, who is 69, also denies behaving in a threatening or abusive manner on the same day, by repeatedly approaching volunteers and pointing in the face of Dennis Ashcroft.

Heated argument

Miss McLeish, who is a Unison convenor and member of Solidarity, denied that after the alleged assault she had called Tommy Sheridan, the leader of Solidarity.

Mr Ewing accused Miss McLeish of chanting: "Vote Yes and get Tories and red Tories out."

She told Glasgow Sheriff Court that she would have used the phrase "New Labour Tories" and added: "I wasn't shouting. I had swollen glands that day."

The public sector employee claimed that Miss Rimmer asked her where she worked and then was "in her face".

She denied a suggestion that there had been a heated argument on both sides which had been sparked by talk of politics in Liverpool in the 1980s.

Miss McLeish said she was handing out leaflets outside the polling station at Shettleston community centre on September 18, 2014, with another Yes campaigner, and Miss Rimmer was campaigning for the No camp.

'Very childish'

She told the court: "The accused came in to my face twice. She asked me if I was a shop steward and I replied 'yes'.

"The next piece of conversation was 'where do you work'. I said local government and she said she was the leader of St Helens Council.

"I thought after she claimed to be the leader of a council that she obviously had mental health difficulties."

Miss McLeish told the court she was kicked on the left shin by Miss Rimmer and reported the incident to the presiding officer.

Another Yes campaigner, Stuart Coleman, told the court he saw Miss Rimmer kick Miss McLeish.

Mr Coleman, 46, said: "Miss Rimmer was getting a bit heated about the whole thing. It was quite aggressive. The lady lost her temper and kicked out."

Under cross-examination, he admitted telling police that it was "nothing but nonsense" and "very childish".

The trial before sheriff Kenneth Hogg continues.

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