Green MSP Gillian Mackay carrying safety device after being trolled for breaking down on radio

Gillian Mackay MSP
Gillian Mackay MSP -Credit:Reach PLC

A Scottish Green MSP who became emotional on live radio following Humza Yousaf's decision to end the Bute House Agreement is carrying a safety device after being trolled online.

Gillian Mackay was speaking to BBC Scotland's Drivetime when she broke down after presenter John Beattie said she sounded "bitter". The Green MSP for the Central Scotland region spoke about the "horrendous political decisions" made by Yousaf as she confirmed her party's intention to vote against him and called for him to stand down.

It was put to her by host John Beattie that she sounded “very bitter” before she responded saying “I’m actually quite upset” as her voice appeared to crack with emotion. Following the interview Mackay said her mental health has been impacted after being trolled online - and she's now carrying a device given to MSPs to keep them safe.

Yousaf terminated the powersharing deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens on Thursday, leading to the smaller pro-independence party announcing it would back the motion of no confidence in his leadership.

In a post on X, formally Twitter, Mackay said: "Firstly I wanted to address my Drive Time appearance. I am upset after the last few days, overly tired and care deeply about everything we are doing and my colleagues. That came across last night and I'm not sorry for that.

"I've had lots of nice messages and calls and thank you to everyone for that. The comments on this platform need addressing. I've been called everything from hysterical to childish to undermining women in politics for being emotional about a job I care about.

"Worse than that they call me unstable for showing emotion. I didn't realise we still had so far to go on stigma around mental health and healthy displays of emotion. There is no shame in being upset. There should be huge shame in saying it makes people unable to do their job.

"For the first time ever I'm carrying the devices we've been given as MSPs to keep us safe. I know others have for a long time and I'm not saying it for any kind of sympathy but if that's the state of public discourse its no wonder women don't want to stand for public office.

"The next few days are going to be equally difficult. I'm taking the rest of the weekend off here as much as I can. Thanks again to everyone who has shown support and checked in.

MPs and MSPs are issued with devices for their safety. The police have previously offered guidance on security measures – including issuing MPs with panic buttons, bomb proof letterboxes and toughened glass for constituency offices, and posting security officers outside surgeries.

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