BBC faces SNP ‘consequences’ of Marr’s alleged bias

Scottish nationalists have gone on the attack against Andrew Marr, after an SNP minister said the presenter should face "consequences" for an interview he conducted with Alex Salmond.

Marr told Salmond "it would be quite hard to get back in [to the EU], I have to say" during an interview with the Scottish first minister on Sunday.

Salmond suggested the presenter was expressing a personal view, but Marr said that Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU Commission president who cast doubt on Scotland's ability to join the EU on the Marr programme weeks earlier, had been "absolutely adamant in private and in public on the sofa" and that he spoke for "many other" European leaders.

"I mistook you there. I thought you were giving your opinion as opposed to President Barroso's opinion," Salmond replied.

SNP Westminster culture spokesman Pete Wishart then went on to Twitter to warn that there "would be consequences" following Marr's comment.

Wishart's intervention prompted a bout of online abuse aimed at the BBC presenter, with users labelling him a "self-important little weasel" and a "racist".

The attacks come despite a call from Salmond last month in which he called for supporters of independence to tone down the abuse they often aim at political opponents.

"I would make the appeal that everyone participating in this debate should be conscious that we want to have a debate which is worthy of the importance of the decisions which are being made," he told the Telegraph.

"I think we should talk about the big issues facing the country and we should talk about them in a way which obviously engenders sparky, lively debate, but we should do it in a way which brings credit to the country and to the importance of the issue we’re debating."

But online trolling at perceived opponents of Scottish independence continues.

David Bowie's official Facebook page was inundated with abuse after he called for Scotland to "stay with us" during the Brit Awards.

Similar treatment was dished out to Olympic medallist Chris Hoy and Scottish comedian Susan Calman.

BBC radio presenter Jim Naughtie was criticised for bias when he moved to Scotland to play a bigger role in the corporation's coverage ahead of the referendum and Sarah Smith found herself accused of bias merely for joining the BBC's referendum team.