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Tory election candidate suspended after past homophobic and anti-Semitic comments emerge

Ryan Houghton will sit as an independent councillor on Aberdeen City Council

2019-11-19

Words: Steve Brown

A Scottish Conservative election candidate has been suspended following claims of homophobic and anti-Semitism.

Ryan Houghton currently serves as a councillor for the George Street and Harbour ward in Aberdeen and was set to stand in the upcoming general election in December of Aberdeen North.

However, last week a number of homophobic and anti-Semitic comments that were made by the councillor around seven years ago emerged.

In his comments he claimed homosexuality was not good for the human race and outrageously stated some events around the Nazi regime’spersecution and murder of six million Jews had been 'fabricated'.

Now, the Conservatives have suspended the candidate and told he would not receive any backing in his campaign, according to The National.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The comments contained in these blogs are unacceptable and Mr Houghton has been suspended as a member of the Scottish Conservative party as a result.

“The party has also withdrawn its support for his candidacy in Aberdeen North. The Scottish Conservatives deplore all forms of Islamophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism.”

Due to election laws, the councillor will still remain as a candidate on the ballot paper but he will sit as an independent councillor on Aberdeen City Council.

Houghton – who is also the vice-convener of Aberdeen City Council’s staff governance committee – has denied the accusations.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he said: “At the age of 20 on an online forum, I took part in a range of political discussions. These included terrorism, LGBT rights and anti-Semitism.

“In one of those threads started by anther member of the forum there was a conversation about freedom of speech.

“There then followed a discussion about the Holocaust denier and now disgraced historian David Irving started by other members.

“In explaining David Irving’s position after watching one of his lectures online, I had referenced his view that parts of the Holocaust had been fabricated or exaggerated.

“I made clear in subsequent forum posts that I was not defending the views of David Irving and I strongly opposed any Holocaust denial.

“Having been a member of the Holocaust Educational Trust, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and as someone who has been a friend of the Jewish community here in Aberdeen, I have never held anti-Semitic or intolerant views.

“I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish Community in Aberdeen.”