A Labour councillor in Scotland has been suspended after allegedly referring to LGBT people as “deviants”.
Tom McAughtrie, who has served as a councillor in the Labour party for more than 30 years in Dumfries and Galloway, has been placed under “administrative suspension” by the party’s Scottish branch after making the comments on social media.
An inquiry was launched last month after a complaint was received alleging that McAughtrie had called a prominent gay rights activist in Dumfries and her friend, Anglican priest Andrew Crosbie, “deviants” on Facebook.
The offending post on McAughtrie’s Facebook account about Dr Belle Doyle, who chairs the area’s LGBT+ group, and Crosbie read: “Thankfully you two deviants were dealt what you deserved by the people of Dumfries.”
A source told The National that while it’s unclear what circumstances the Labour councillor’s comments refer to, Dr Doyle, who is a lesbian, found the reference to “deviants” abusive.
Crosbie, a priest at Dumfries’ St Bride’s Anglican Church, allows the religious building to be used by Doyle’s LGBT+ society for their monthly meetings and fundraising events.
Police interviewed and detained the 65 year old Labour councillor last month for the comments found to have been posted on social media.
Mr McAughtrie remains a member of Dumfries and Galloway Council , and still chairs local transport body the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership.
His fellow Dumfries councilman, John Martin, said McAughtrie sat with his Labour colleagues during a council meeting yesterday and that he had been unaware of the party suspension.
“Tom arrived back from China this morning and went straight to the council meeting. He sat beside me in the meeting in the middle of the Labour group,” Mr Martin said.
The National was told by a Labour source that while the councillor is suspended he’s allowed to sit with other party representatives but barred from Labour group meetings.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm a 65-year-old man from Dumfries is the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal in relation to the Communications Act 2003.”
A Scottish Labour spokesman confirmed McAughtrie had been suspended from the party.
He said: “Mr McAughtrie has been placed under administrative suspension from holding office or representing the Labour Party, and from Dumfries and Galloway Labour Group. It is important that these allegations are investigated.