A PROTESTER labelled a “far-left fanatic” by a Conservative councillor after today’s exam results protest in Glasgow has hit back at the “disgraceful” and “toxic” Tories.

Jay Sutherland, 19, who said he had not been directly affected by the results scandal but was there in solidarity with friends and family who had, claimed Councillor Thomas Kerr was heckled by “half of the people”, who chanted “Go, go, go” during his speech.

Another protester, 18-year-old Emir Carr-Ross, said: "It honestly felt like the crowd had been split in two."

Kerr, who represents Shettleston, later attacked Sutherland on Twitter, saying the assertion was untrue and he had been hounded by a small group of “far-left fanatics who tried to hijack the protest”.

Talking to The National, Sutherland said: “They were just normal young people. If you consider them far-left, it’s quite silly.

“To be honest, they just want to label everyone as a complete nuthead - they always use that [far-left] as the go-to message, as they are uncomfortable that the majority of people in Scotland still find them very toxic.

READ MORE: Teenage Nicola Sturgeon would 'very possibly' have protested outside SQA

“It was a disgrace to working-class people to have a protest against classism and have a Conservative, whose party is all about classism, speak.

“Everyone knows that these people are the polar opposite of what we want to achieve.”

Talking to PA, one pupil accused the Tories of "only speaking for us when it suits you".

Sutherland said Kerr’s speech lasted for about 30 seconds before he “was quickly silenced”.

However, the councillor told The National that the assertions were “entirely untrue”.

Kerr said his speech was briefly interrupted while the hecklers from the “Young Communists or Socialist Workers Party” were “told to be quiet” by the other young people present.

The councillor said he continued and “there was applause at the end of my speech”, after which he was “around for about an hour” speaking to protesters and press.

The National:

Kerr, a former pupil at the city's Eastbank Academy, told the crowd: "If what had happened this year happened to me, I would never have been in the position I am in today.

"I know some people are obviously unhappy that I'm here today but I just wanted to say you have my full support."

Sutherland says the crowd was “really shocked that a Conservative would turn out to speak”.

He said: “He [Kerr] didn’t really announce properly that he was a Conservative. A lot of people were made aware and started asking: ‘Well, what’s he doing here?’

“Traditionally they have never really been a party which has helped young people at all.

“They were just there for political manipulation and to be seen, without there actually being any substance.”

READ MORE: Glasgow exam results protesters slam SQA for 'stealing their futures'

John White, 17, one of the protest’s organisers and a member of the Scottish Tories, said his fellow organiser had taken the microphone off Kerr to ask the hecklers, who did not make up half the crowd, to be quiet, corroborating the councillor’s account of events.

White said: “Without getting political I would say just to focus on the issue at hand.

“The protest wasn’t focused on one party or the SNP even, but certain administrative people who had moderated in a way to do with postcodes.”

Carr-Ross suggested that White's political affiliation may explain his account, and, asked about the apparent "Communists" present, said: "There was one fringe group called the Scottish Young Socialists there, but it wasn't them that started the whole confrontation."

Lauren MacDonald, 18, who was also at the protest, told The National that the number of anti-Tory protesters was less important than the Tories' show of "completely fake solidarity".

She said: "I don't think that the people speaking out should be belittled, by saying that 'it's just one or two people'.

"These are people trying to stand up for themselves and they are being gaslighted into thinking that it is just a couple of them causing a nuisance when it is completely valid to be angry that he [Councillor Kerr] was there.

"Young people's futures are actually being affected by this unfair scandal which has come about and it is due to these things which the Tories support, classism, ableism, all these structural issues, so why was a Tory there?"

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) downgraded 124,564 results for exams which were cancelled due to Covid-19.

An equality impact assessment of the results released by the SQA showed that those students in the lowest percentile of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation – students in Scotland’s most deprived areas – had their Higher pass rate reduced by 15.2%.

However, students in the least deprived areas only had their rate reduced by just 6.9%.

The group present and alluded to in the article have since confirmed they are the Young Socialists - Young Workers Rights Campaign, part of the Socialist Party Scotland. None of those interviewed are affiliated with that party.