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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Veterans charity caught in SNP vs Tory row

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Poppyscotland has stressed it is apolitical following a row between the Conservatives and the SNP

Poppyscotland had to defend its political independence after being dragged into a row over its funding.

The charity was brought into a fight between Tories and the SNP and moved to restate its apolitical status.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was at the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh to unveil a £2.5 million grant from the UK government.

However the charity was caught in a row after social media users responded to a tweet posted from Tory MP John Lamont’s Twitter account.

The tweet, featuring an image of poppy fields, said the party was delivering for Scotland in the upcoming budget and that "positive engagement with the UK government gets better results than nationalist grievance".

SNP politicians and supporters rounded on the tweet, with Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford stating: “This being done for political purposes is beneath you John - only hope a staffer posted this.”

Poppyscotland said it wanted to make clear it was apolitical and the tweet posted by Lamont was deleted.

A spokesman said: “While we are extremely grateful for the funding, anything that brings our apolitical status into question is unhelpful… for the benefit of doubt, we have not, and never will, accept a donation from a political party.”

The charity has said the funds will go towards the redevelopment of the poppy factory, which was been based at Warriston for more than 50 years, will secure the long term future of poppy production and enhance its ongoing education programme.

Poppyscotland chief executive Mark Bibbey said: “We are delighted at the prospect of receiving this funding, which will go towards our exciting and ambitious plans for redeveloping the Lady Haig Poppy Factory.

“Our aim is to secure the long-term future production of poppies and to vastly enhance our educational output. The chancellor’s award will help us towards making both of these ambitions a reality, creating a lasting legacy in the process.”