Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Tory and Independent Councillors have today [Wednesday] failed to back an SNP motion condemning the recent racist comment by Moray Tory MP and former councillor Douglas Ross.

The comments about Gypsy Travellers have been widely condemned by people across the political spectrum and campaigning organisations including Amnesty and Show Racism the Red Card.

In a motion proposed by Fochabers Lhanbryde SNP Councillor Dave Bremner and seconded by Elgin City South SNP Councillor Graham Leadbitter, the Council was asked to condemn the comments made by Douglas Ross MP.

The motion was defeated with the Council’s Administration voting for a cut down amendment that did not condemn the comments.

Councillor Dave Bremner said:

“While I am pleased that the council voted  that it "upholds and reiterates its legal commitments to equality and diversity”, I am extremely disappointed that the Council Leader persisted with the falsehood that the comments by Douglas Ross have been apologised for. That is simply untrue. No proper apology has ever been issued for the words he used.

“I am also extremely disappointed that he chose to paint the motion as political. Standing up for equalities for all should never be viewed as 'political'. Equalities are a human right and we must all take responsibility for upholding those rights and challenging racism and bigotry in all its forms and whoever it comes from.”

“In a representation made in a recent surgery of mine a prominent business owner expressed their views on these comments in a very heartfelt way. In that representation one succinct line stood out and that was that “There should be no place in politics for racism, he is a bigot and a disgrace”.

“This isn’t the Moray I recognise, nor is it a version of Moray that any of us should accept. A tolerant welcoming version of Moray is the one I believe exists, and it is the one we should all strive to uphold.”

Councillor Graham Leadbitter said:

“As councillors holding public office, with a legal duty to uphold equalities laws, we have an obligation, both moral and legal, to challenge and condemn racist statements like that made by Douglas Ross.

“In considering the comments made by Mr Ross it is deeply concerning that he is blaming an entire culture for the actions of a few individuals. That cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. You simply cannot blame an entire ethnic group for the actions of a few.

“It is totally unacceptable and the failure by some councillors today to condemn it and, in fact, be apologists for Mr Ross, is also totally unacceptable. The Council Leader considered this motion that stood up for equality to be a waste of time and for that to be the case on the same day that the Council appointed an Equalities Champion is frankly astonishing.”

Motion to Full Council on Wednesday 27 September 2017

That Council, in light of comments made by Moray MP Douglas Ross with reference to the Gypsy and Traveller community in a Core Politics ‘Meet the MPs’ interview, upholds and reiterates its legal commitments to Equality and Diversity as they are governed by the various acts of Parliament in relation to any and all groups of people who comprise this county and nation, by distancing Moray Council from, and condemning the comment of, the former member of this council and current MP for Moray.