ECK IN DIRTY TRICKS STORM; TORIES AND LIB DEMS BACK 'THREAT' MP Labour claim Salmond is using abuse claim to try to force Davidson out.
ALEX SALMOND has been accused of orchestrating a smear campaign against Labour's Ian Davidson over claims he threatened to give an SNP MP "a doing".
The First Minister led calls for Davidson to resign as chairman of the Commons Scottish affairs committee after Eilidh Whiteford quit the body in protest.
Yesterday, as the Labour MP denied making any threat, the Tories and Lib Dems backed his version of events.
Dr Whiteford, the only SNP member of the committee, claimed Davidson threatened to "give her a doing" if she leaked details of a private meeting last week.
DISREPUTE The Banff and Buchan MP vowed not to return until he quits.
But Labour said they had looked into the matter carefully and it was "totally clear" that Davidson did not threaten or try to threaten Dr Whiteford last week.
A party spokeswoman added: "To suggest otherwise is a deliberate attempt to smear the chair of the committee, which brings politics into disrepute.
"It is never right to threaten a person - and it is never right to smear one either."
Labour claimed the smear was orchestrated at the highest levels of the SNP and called on Salmond to reverse his position.
Their version is that on the day of the committee meeting, Whiteford had been castigated by other members after issuing a premature press release about the members' plans.
Davidson then told Whiteford that she had been given "a doing" - in the past tense - and that the matter was over.
Afterwards, he told her the remark should not be taken in an offensive or sexual context.
The SNP then gave give their allegations a sexist twist when they released them on Tuesday.
As the committee met yesterday, Davidson told members: "I want to make it clear that I did not threaten anyone and did not intend to threaten anyone.
"I apologise if anyone took offence but reiterate that no threat was made or intended."
Committee members took it in turn to back his version of events.
Argyll Lib Dem MP Alan Reid expressed surprise that the issue was raised "six days later".
He said: "I have no recollection of threats being made to anybody."
Tory Fiona Bruce said: "I did not hear a threatening statement. There was a debate of a robust nature but in line with a political debate."
ur's Jim McGovern said: idn't seem intimidated at me. I heard nothing that at at Labour's Jim McGovern said: "She didn't seem intimidated at the time. I heard nothing that Daily Record We y could be construed as threatening, hostile or aggressive."
Scottish Labour accused Salmond of using the issue to try to force out Davidson and undermine the Scottish affairs committee, which has launched two investigations into the SNP's independence referendum.
A furious First Minister claimed no one on the committee, apart from Whiteford, "has a mandate to say anything about a referendum, apart from the fact that they are opposed to it".
Thin-skinned Salmond also wants Glasgow South-west MP Davidson discredited in the race to be deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, party insiders said.
The SNP hit back with a letter of support for Whiteford from academics after efforts to get domestic violence charities on board came to nothing.
Whiteford called Davidson's statement "an empty apology" and insisted his comments were "inherently threatening and unacceptable".
She added: "We know now that at least one other member of the committee heard his remarks, and understand that another member passed him a note regarding his comments.
un unde de ders rs rsta tand that another member pa p ssed him a note r e r garding his comments.
"I am not prepared to be threatened and intimidated, and until Mr Davidson takes responsibility, I will not be re re r turning."
"I am not prepared to be threatened and intimidated, and until Mr Davidson takes responsibility, I will not be returning."
DENIAL ZIan Davidson. Left, our story