Scotland politics

Tory councillor expelled over BNP links

Stephen Goldsack holding BNP manifesto Image copyright The National
Image caption Mr Goldsack (centre) was pictured holding a BNP manifesto and wearing the party's rosette

A Conservative councillor has been expelled from the party after it emerged he had formerly been an activist for the BNP.

Stephen Goldsack was listed as the far-right party's "Scottish security adviser" in 2011, and was pictured holding its manifesto.

He was elected as a Scottish Conservative councillor in North Lanarkshire last year.

But the party said his membership had now been "rescinded".

The photographs of Mr Goldsack were uncovered by the National newspaper on an old BNP Scotland website.

One post on the site from April 2011 said: "We are happy to announce the appointment of Steve Goldsack to the role of Scottish security adviser. Steve has worked in security when living in Belfast and is the son of a police inspector."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "Councillor Goldsack's membership of the Scottish Conservative party has been rescinded, an action we took immediately after learning of this past affiliation."

Mr Goldsack represents the Stepps, Chryston and Muirhead ward on North Lanarkshire Council.

Danish Ashraf, an SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire, said it was "absolutely right" for Mr Goldsack to have been "kicked out" of the Conservatives.

But he questioned how someone with Mr Goldsack's history had managed to be "welcomed into the Tories".

Image copyright The National
Image caption The BNP announced that Mr Goldsack had been appointed as its "Scottish security adviser" in 2011

Mr Ashraf added: "Ruth Davidson presides over a party with an embarrassing litany of councillors and candidates with disturbing and extremist views.

"It is way past time that she cleaned up her party - she has a personal duty to deal with the extremism scandal at the heart of the Scottish Tories."

Mr Goldsack's past links to the BNP came to light after he was accused of making "discriminatory" comments about Muslims over a planning application for a mosque.

Image copyright North Lanarkshire Council
Image caption Mr Goldsack was elected as the Conservative councillor for Stepps, Chryston and Muirhead last year

He was alleged to have told a planning meeting that "we can't give more access to these people," before adding: "If it was Church of Scotland, it would be OK."

But the councillor insisted he was not racist, and claimed his objection to the mosque was based on complaints about recent disorder outside the property.

He told The National newspaper that the phrase "these people" was directed towards the individuals who had been involved in the disorder, and not Muslims in general.

The Scottish Conservatives have previously been criticised for reinstating two Stirling councillors who had been suspended over offensive tweets that were posted before the pair were elected last year.

One of the councillors - Robert Davies - subsequently quit the party after refusing to apologise for tweeting racist posts from a Twitter account in 2013 which was subsequently deleted.