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News Link • Free Speech

Victory for Martha Payne as Argyll and Bute council backs down on school dinner blog ban

• By Andrew Hough, and Simon Johnson
Argyll and Bute council performed the astonishing U-turn just hours after issuing a rambling, and defiant statement, defending its decision while attacking the nine year-old for her critical blog.

Insisting there was "no place for censorship", Roddy McCuish, the SNP leader, today announced the ban had been overturned amid mounting public criticism, including on Twitter, the micro-blogging site.

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "There's no place for censorship in Argyll and Bute Council and there never has been and there never will be.

"I've just instructed senior officials to immediately withdraw the ban on pictures from the school dining hall. It's a good thing to do, to change your mind, and I've certainly done that."

He added there was "absolutely no place" for newspaper reporting attacking dinner ladies, but agreed "100 per cent" this criticism was not directed at Martha. 
Mr McCuish said he had not had the opportunity to speak to the Paynes but would be doing so in the coming week. He said he would be dealing with the initial overreaction from the council "in due course".

His dramatic intervention, came after Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, led the public backlash against its ban, which came after the Scottish Daily Record published a story under the headline "Time to fire the dinner ladies..." 

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