A Christian MP in the British Parliament has quit the Scottish National Party (SNP) because it denigrated her faith. Dr. Lisa Cameron defected to the Conservative Party, accusing her former SNP colleagues of creating a “toxic culture.”
That prompted a torrent of abuse that seemed to back up her claims. The MP, her husband and their two daughters were forced to move to a secret location in the Scottish countryside after Dr. Cameron was emailed threats of violence, including “I hope someone throws a brick at you in the street”, “I hope you burn” and “Think your mental health is bad now – wait til you see what abuse and nastiness yer going to have to put up with.”
She told The Times: “We have had a lot of personal threats. Unfortunately, I think that’s where the political discourse has got to in Scotland: aggression, violence and anger are coupled on to the debate about nationalism.”
Dr. Cameron told the BBC that she felt unwanted within the SNP whose leaders made it clear she should never raise her faith or vote in line with her beliefs. The member of the Free Church of Scotland voted against abortion reforms and supported a young staffer who was harassed by another SNP MP, which led to further isolation.
The 51-year-old clinical psychiatrist confessed: ‘I do not feel able to continue in what I have experienced as a toxic and bullying SNP Westminster group, which resulted in my requiring counselling for a period of 12 months in Parliament and caused significant deterioration in my health and well-being as assessed by my GP including the need for antidepressants.’
She was cheered by Tory MPs when she made her first parliamentary appearance on the Conservative bench last week. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘delighted’ Dr. Cameron had joined his party, hailing her as a ‘brave and committed constituency MP’.
Dr. Cameron’s defection coincided with her dumping as the SNP’s candidate for the next general election. She was first elected as an SNP MP in 2015 and went on to win again in two subsequent general elections. She has refused to stand down and allow a by-election in her seat.
Conservative columnist for Scotland’s The Herald Kevin McKenna wrote that the MP had encountered “an orchestrated campaign of intimidation from inside her own party for being true to her principles. Dr. Cameron, you see, is a Christian and in the SNP right now there are significant swathes of the party who are hostile to anyone who expresses authentic Christian beliefs.”
“You are either expected to keep quiet about such beliefs or to adhere to a sort of state-approved version of your faith which requires you to ditch those beliefs that fall foul of those deemed to be acceptable by the party politburo.”
He noted that In the contest for the party leadership earlier this year, Kate Forbes faced similar abuse for being a member of the Free Church of Scotland. “A clear majority of the wider electorate felt she was a much more able and trustworthy candidate than [First Minister] Humza Yousaf”.