SNP MSP John Mason has defended himself against claims that a message he sent on Twitter was sexist and might contribute to 'rape culture'.

The Glasgow Shettleston MSP responded to a post on the social media website about voters having rejected independence with the comment "Marginal view was no to indy. We hope to change that. The girl does not always say yes first time!"

However other Twitter users were quick to condemn the comment, while the Scottish Conservatives described it as ill-judged and damaging.

Mr Mason told The Herald the comment was innocent and reflected the fact that "asking a girl for a relationship or to dinner, they don't always say yes the first time."

He added: "I've gone out with girls where they didn't. We are trying to woo Scotland and win Scotland over. It was an innocent comment, but I tweet things every day and they get twisted all the time."

But the president of NUS Scotland, Vonnie Sandlan tweeted in response to the original comment: "This is an appalling tweet for someone in your position to make, trivialising rape culture and coercive control," while Glasgow Labour council candidate Maggie McTernan said: "Please do not use an analogy that implies overriding a woman's consent." Others called on Mr Mason to resign, describing the tweet as 'creepy', 'abhorrent' and 'disgusting'.

However some defended the MSP with one user Elaine Ferguson commenting: "Only on Scottish political twitter could the idiotic metaphorical suggestion a guy might propose more than once make you a rape apologist."

Scottish Conservative equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “At a time when we are trying to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women, this was an ill-judged tweet.

“It probably read worse than he intended, and as such he should reflect on the remark. MSPs are in a position of responsibility and influence, which is why tweets like this can be so damaging.”