Support for the Scottish Conservative election candidate for Aberdeen North has been pulled amid accusations of anti-Semitism and homophobia.
Ryan Houghton, who is currently a councillor for the George Street and Harbour ward in the city, has been suspended by the party, and told he would receive no backing in his campaign in the run up to the election.
The decision came after a number of comments made online more than seven years ago were unearthed.
Due to election laws, Mr Houghton will remain as the Conservative candidate on the ballot paper come December 12.
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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.”
With his party suspension, it means he will now sit on Aberdeen City Council as an independent councillor.
The spokesman added: “The party has also withdrawn its support for his candidacy in Aberdeen North.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.”
Mr Houghton, who is the vice-convener of Aberdeen City Council’s staff governance committee, has strongly denied any accusations that he is anti-Semitic or homophobic.
As I’m aware of an emerging story in The National tonight that takes a look comments out of context made over 7 years ago I wish to make the following statement: pic.twitter.com/5JCyp7C2s5
— Ryan Houghton for Aberdeen North (@RyanJHoughton) November 18, 2019
In a statement he 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.
“In one of those threads started by anther member of the forum there was a conversation about freedom of speech.
“There then followed a discussion about the Holocaust denier and now disgraced historian David Irving started by other members.
“In explaining David Irving’s position after watching one of his lectures online, I had referenced his view that parts of the Holocaust had been fabricated or exaggerated.
“I made clear in subsequent forum posts that I was not defending the views of David Irving and I strongly opposed any Holocaust denial.
“Having been a member of the Holocaust Educational Trust, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and as someone who has been a friend of the Jewish community here in Aberdeen, I have never held anti-Semitic or intolerant views.
“I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish Community in Aberdeen.”
Mr Houghton, 28, was elected as a councillor in 2017 and previously worked for former Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson.