NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Tory Aberdeen candidate suspended for 'unacceptable' comments

Ryan Houghton Image copyright Twitter/@RyanJHoughton
Image caption Ryan Houghton has been suspended by the Conservative Party

A Conservative party election candidate has been suspended over alleged anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic comments he made seven years ago.

Ryan Houghton - a candidate in the Aberdeen North constituency - confirmed his suspension on Monday after The National published the allegations.

He has apologised for any hurt caused but insisted the comments were taken out of context.

The Scottish Conservatives said the blog comments were "unacceptable".

Mr Houghton remains a candidate but the Conservatives have withdrawn their support for his campaign while an investigation takes place.

The National listed a number of posts, including one where he argued that while there was "no credible evidence to suggest the Holocaust did not happen" he went on to say: "I do find some of the events fabricated."

Mr Houghton was also quoted as saying he did not see how homosexuality was good for the human race.

In other alleged comments he said Islam's core teachings had the goal of "world domination" and that some Muslims had big families with the aim of creating "Eurabia".

He released a statement on his Twitter feed, saying the comments were taken "out of context" and insisted he had never held anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic views.

Mr Houghton 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."

He said that in one of the threads he had discussed freedom of speech and he had discussed comments made by Holocaust denier David Irving.

'Apologise unreservedly'

He said he made clear in subsequent posts that he was not defending the views and strongly opposed Holocaust denial.

The candidate added: "I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish community in Aberdeen."

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"The party has also withdrawn its support for his candidacy in Aberdeen North.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."

It comes just a week Labour candidate Kate Ramsden quit in Aberdeenshire following a row over anti-Semitism.

She stood down in the Gordon constituency after the Jewish Chronicle highlighted a blog in which she compared Israel to an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.

Another Scottish Labour candidate, Frances Hoole, was also been dropped over a social media post attacking her SNP opponent.

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