West Lothian councillor suspended over anti-Semitic blog post

Image source, West Lothian Council
Image caption,
Frank Anderson has been suspended for three months

A West Lothian councillor has been suspended from council meetings for three months after he shared an anti-Semitic blog on social media.

Frank Anderson also defended his actions in The National newspaper.

The SNP councillor later apologised for sharing the Grouse Beater post which attacked GMB official Rhea Wolfson.

The blog was critical of Ms Wolfson's role in the Glasgow City Council equal pay dispute and it was shared by Mr Anderson on 20 October 2018.

It referred to Hitler "accusing 'the Jew' of gradually assuming leadership of the trade union movement".

In an article in The National on 30 October 2018, the councillor said he did not accept the blog was anti-Semitic.

Gareth Wardell, the man behind the blog, also denied it was anti-Semitic, claiming it was an attack on facism.

He was suspended from the SNP after writing the blog before being expelled in November 2018.

Image caption,
Much of the blog post was a personal attack on GMB official Rhea Wolfson

Following Wednesday's heading a Standards Commission panel said it was satisfied that the blog was anti-Semitic.

It found that Mr Anderson had breached the Councillors' Code of Conduct by failing to behave in a respectful manner towards Ms Wolfson.

'Courtesy and respect'

Mr Anderson said he had not properly read the article and had not realised Ms Wolfson was Jewish.

Despite the subsequent newspaper article, he has since accepted that the blog could be perceived as anti-Semitic.

He has also written to Ms Wolfson and apologised for sharing the post.

The panel, led by chairman Paul Walker, said the councillor for East Livingston and East Calder would be suspended for three months.

Mr Walker said: "Councillors have a duty under the code to treat others with courtesy and respect and cannot, therefore, indulge in offensive personal abuse.

"While the panel was pleased to note that Cllr Anderson apologised to the individual concerned, it nevertheless considered that his conduct, in sharing and subsequently defending an offensive and anti-Semitic article, went well beyond that which is acceptable."

West Lothian Council said it was not be appropriate to comment.

The SNP have been approached for a response.