Tory MP Describes Gypsy Travellers as Blight on Community

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Friday August 25 2017

SNP warns of danger that The Tories are normalising prejudice.

Douglas Ross MP has compounded his insult to the Gypsy Traveller community by describing them as a "blight on our community" who had to be “dealt with”.

Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland, the Tory MP issued a half-hearted apology for his comments that his number one priority as Prime Minister would be “tougher enforcement against Gypsies and Travellers”, however added that the gypsy/traveller community have too much legal protection.

The comments come after Ms Davidson readmitted two councillors to the Tories, despite their racist, bigoted and sectarian views.

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said that both episodes showed that Ruth Davidson's Tories were "normalising prejudice when they should be condemning it."

She said:

“Douglas Ross’s initial comments about gypsy travellers were disgraceful – he has now compounded that with his suggestion they are a ‘blight on our community’ who have too much legal protection and need to be ‘dealt with’.

“He would be well advised to stop digging the deep whole he has already dug for himself.

“And his weasel-worded apology will do nothing to dispel the growing realisation that prejudice and bigotry are alive and well in Ruth Davidson’s Tories.

"In the same week that Douglas Ross singled out this minority group in the way that he has, we've seen two Stirling Tory councillors readmitted to the party after suspensions for racist and sectarian posts online, and Ruth Davidson is ok with it all.

"There is a serious danger that rather than condemning intolerance and prejudice, Ruth Davidson’s Tory party is normalising it.

“The Scottish Tory party offers a home to extremist views, turns a blind eye to prejudice and allows those who spout offensive nonsense to hold elected office.”


Excerpt from GMS interview 25.08.2017:

…Presenter: Well would you like to apologise for the remarks first of all?

DR: I do apologise for saying that that would be a number one priority if prime minister that clearly wouldn’t be the case for any prime minister.

Presenter: Where would it rank on your priorities?

DR: Very low Gary in terms of solving global famine, eradicating cancer etc etc of course, but it is an issue – and I think the way we’re approaching this now is if anyone dares to raise this situation they are condemned by opposition politicians, they’re condemned by Amnesty International etc.

…Presenter: So the travelling community is offered too much protection?

DR: Well they are in terms of legislation to get rid of them from unauthorised illegal travelling encampments, they do receive preferential treatment because the authorities, you have to go to the courts to get permission to get them to leave your own land, you have to pay for clear up. Many, many times when they leave the area in a significant mess, and this all has to be paid for by the local taxpayers who want to see something done to ensure that these individuals who give a bad name for all travellers are dealt with to ensure that we can have a better relationship between the travelling communities and the settled communities.

Presenter: Well how many people do you think are in that position?

DR: Well it happens very often here in Moray that’s why I was..

Presenter: How often, how often, given that you said it was your lead priority if you were prime minister, how often does it happen in Moray?

DR: I’ve already explained that but it happened several times – well if I just think well you know we had an authorised travellers’ encampment site that had to be raided by 100 police officers from across the Grampian area because it turned into a crime den, we then had opportunities to have different authorised traveller encampments across Moray and they didn’t go ahead because of local concerns and just driving along the A96 there were two or three illegal, unauthorised traveller encampments, which are a blight on our community.



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