Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Scottish minister leaves Twitter over racist abuse

Humza Yousaf said he had experienced a 'barrage' of abuse on the platform

Humza Yousaf has left Twitter for a "wee break". PA
Humza Yousaf has left Twitter for a "wee break". PA

A Scottish minister is taking a break from Twitter after abuse aimed at his baby daughter.

Scottish National Party Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted his 83,000 followers on Saturday saying he was taking a “wee break” from the platform.

Mr Yousaf has received racist and Islamophobic abuse during his time in government, including from a Labour councillor, who claimed no one in his constituency of Dumfries and Galloway would be able to see Mr Yousaf “under his burka”.

Jim Dempster is yet to be formally disciplined by his party over the comments, leading Mr Yousaf to criticise the party’s approach to tackling Islamophobia and antisemitism within its membership.

“Every day a relentless barrage of abuse - mainly from [the] same quarters,” Mr Yousaf said of his decision to leave Twitter.

“I'm thick-skinned politician but not going to sit back and just accept abuse every time I turn my phone on, esp (sic) when my wee girl becomes the target."

“Instagram is a much nicer place,” he added.

Speaking last year about the abuse he has encountered, Mr Yousaf said he worries for his family, revealing he carries a personal alarm for his safety. Mr Yousaf’s baby daughter was born in May.

“I’ve had a private briefing from police on the back of reporting some incidents. They said these are the steps you might want to take to protect your constituency office and so forth. It’s not a place you want to be in – but I’ve had to take those steps.”

In 2015, Twitter user Johnathan McAuley, from Huddersfield, was fined £500 for racially abusing Mr Yousaf on the platform.

Updated: July 16, 2019 08:27 PM

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