A GLASGOW SNP MSP has accused members of the city council’s Conservative group of using sectarianism for political gain.

Shettleston MSP, John Mason, has responded to a letter from Tory councillor, Thomas Kerr, which demanded the MSP apologise and withdraw his comments comparing the Celtic child abuse scandal with Rangers not paying tax.

In his response Mr Mason said that child abuse was horrific and there were links between the Conservatives, Rangers Football Club and protestants.

He said: “You and your colleagues are looking for support from that part of society.

"I realise this is not true for all Conservative politicians but I do deplore the fact that some are very much seeking to benefit from sectarian division in our society.”

Mr Mason said that there was an underlying theme of sectarianism which is causing tensions throughout Glasgow.

He went on: “I completely agree that child abuse is horrific and is one of the most serious crimes in our society right up there with murder, rape and other horrendous criminal acts.

“It is noticeable that many of those contacting me on this issue have only wanted an investigation into child abuse linked with Celtic and have not asked for any wider child abuse inquiry.

“That makes me think that a major motive of those contacting me has been that they want to attack Celtic as a club together as much as anything else.”

After receiving the letter councillor Kerr said he was let down by the MSP’s response.

He said: “I think this reply shows more about John Mason and his character than it does anything else.

“My letter did not mention football or religion once, instead asked him to apologise and withdraw from comments he made regarding child abuse. I note he hasn’t responded to the direct points I made and I am bitterly disappointed about that.

“This is a shameful attempt from John to play politics but I wouldn’t expect anything different from Mr Mason.”