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Lord McConnell has no regrets over much-mocked pinstripe kilt

The former first minister was asked about the outfit he famously wore to an event in New York in 2004.

The SNP mocked the former first minister’s kilt in a 2005 campaign poster (David Cheskin/PA)
The SNP mocked the former first minister’s kilt in a 2005 campaign poster (David Cheskin/PA)

Lord McConnell has insisted he has no regrets about wearing his infamous pinstripe kilt – despite being mocked for his choice of outfit at Tartan Day in New York.

The former Scottish first minister donned the modern kilt, produced by designer Howie Nicholsby, when he visited a fashion show in the city in 2004.

It was mocked by the SNP in a poster campaign the following year, in which the then Labour leader was dubbed “Joke McConnell”.

More than 15 years on, he was asked about his clothing choice as he took part in an event in Edinburgh to mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Scottish Parliament.

Reform Scotland director Chris Deerin asked Lord McConnell about the outfit, explaining the question had been put forward on Twitter by Scottish singer Ricky Ross.

Reading out the question, Mr Deerin said: “Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue asks does he ever regret that kilt?”

Lord McConnell told him: “I don’t regret that at all. It was a charity fashion show, people dressed up in all kinds of stuff on the night, and yes, it was a lot of fun for a lot of people over the years. I’m glad people got something to laugh at, it doesn’t bother me one bit.”

He said he had been doing “a kind of silly dance” to music being played outside the event when photographs were taken.

He only realised his outfit had been a controversial choice when his wife phoned him in the early hours, having seen pictures in the press.

“Nobody bothered about what I was wearing that night, it was just all part of the scene,” the former first minister said.

“I went to bed in New York and at approximately 3.30 in the morning I got a phone call from my wife, saying ‘what the… is on the front page of The Herald’.

“But I have never regretted it.”

PA

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