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Ruth Davidson defends re-instatement of Tory councillors in sectarian and racist tweets row

2 min read

Ruth Davidson has defended her decision to reinstate two Conservative councillors who posted anti-Catholic and racist tweets.

Alastair Majury and Robert Davies were both suspended shortly after being elected to Stirling Council in May.

Mr Majury tweeted in 2012: "Why is the Catholic Church against birth control? Because they'll run out of children to molest."

He also used the term "tarrier" - an offensive term for Catholics - in other posts on his Twitter page.

Meanwhile, Mr Davies was suspended after a series of tweets he posted in 2013 below a picture of black people waiting to board a plane were unearthed.

One read: "In the interests of security keep your loin cloths with you at all times. Spears go in the overhead locker."

Ms Davidson came in for severe criticism when it emerged earlier this week that both men were now back in the Conservative party.

Breaking her silence on the row, the Scottish Tory leader insisted they deserved a chance to show they had changed.

She said: "I've been very strong in the past about wanting to change behaviour on social media and online.

"As well as a full disciplinary, as well as the sanction of being suspended, as well as a full and unreserved apology, both of the individuals indicated that they had a genuine wish to change their behaviour, and I've got a decision to make, then. Do I allow for that to happen, or not?

"I fully understand the criticism that's come in, but both have undertaken not only to do diversity training, but on top of that sitting down with Nil By Mouth, the anti-sectarian organisation."

SNP MSP James Dornan had accused Ms Davidson of being "a hypocrite".

He said: "She is keen to call out racism, sexism and other unacceptable behaviour, except when her own colleagues are the guilty ones.

"But this issue goes beyond mere hypocrisy, and exposes the ugly reality of Davidson’s Tories – a party which offers a home to extremist views, turns a blind eye to prejudice and allows those who spout offensive nonsense to hold elected office."

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: "We have worked hard in Scotland to try to tackle racism and sectarianism and there is still more to do. Representing your community in local government is a privilege and an enormous responsibility. The Tories have badly misjudged this and must think again."

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