Council leaders have been urged to “come clean” on whether they will remove an Aberdeen councillor embroiled in an anti-Semitism storm from a high-profile role.
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn has written to co-leaders of Aberdeen City Council, Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing, asking whether they will be moving to remove councillor Ryan Houghton as the council’s business manager and vice-convener of the staff governance committee when the council meets on December 9.
Mr Houghton, who is standing as the Scottish Conservative election candidate in Aberdeen North, has been suspended by the party and told he would receive no backing in his campaign in the run-up to the election after a number of comments made online more than seven years ago were unearthed.
Mr Flynn said the silence on Mr Houghton’s future was “deafening”.
He added: “Only Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing have the power to remove Councillor Houghton from his post in December and they need to come clean as to whether they intend to do so, or whether they intend to hold out until the next full council meeting in March.
“The reality is that these roles incur huge responsibility.
“Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing need to clarify whether they have confidence in Councillor Houghton to fulfil these duties or not.”
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However, Mr Lumsden said it would be “wrong” to pre-judge the outcome of an internal party investigation.
He added: “I am positive that the people of Aberdeen would agree that a ‘trial by media’ would be wholly unfair on Councillor Houghton and people should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”
Mr Houghton declined to comment on the matter ahead of a disciplinary panel being held by the party.
However, in a statement released earlier this month, he strongly denied any accusations he is anti-Semitic or homophobic and apologised “unreservedly” for any hurt caused.