• 13 February 2018

Council HQImage copyright Google
Image caption Mr McAughtrie was a senior Labour councillor with the Dumfries and Galloway authority

A former councillor accused of making a homophobic remark is to be the subject of a hearing by a council watchdog.

Tom McAughtrie was suspended by Scottish Labour following a complaint about the alleged comment on Facebook.

The former Dumfries and Galloway councillor is accused of describing the chairwoman of a local LGBT group and an Anglican priest as “deviants”.

The Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) will hold a public hearing into the incident in Dumfries on Tuesday.

Mr McAughtrie is alleged to have used a council-issued mobile phone to post the comment on social media.

It read: “Thankfully you two deviants were dealt the blow you deserve by the decent people of Dumfries”.

He represented the Abbey ward of Dumfries and Galloway Council when the comment was posted but he lost his seat at the elections in May 2015.

Code of conduct

The SCS is the watchdog which monitors the behaviour of those in public office in organisations such as councils, health boards and the Scottish Police Authority.

At the hearing, the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, who has carried out an investigation into the complaint, will present the case against the former councillor.

Mr McAughtrie or his representative will have a chance to respond.

If the three-strong panel hearing determines that the comment was disrespectful or discriminatory, it will represent a breach of the councillors’ code of conduct.

They could decide to censure or disqualify the former councillor.

Prof Kevin Dunion, the convenor of the SCS, said: “We hold our hearings in public for good reason – so that the people of Scotland can clearly see both the standards of behaviour expected, and the penalties imposed on those who fail to live up to those standards.

“The SCS works to protect and reassure the public in Scotland that inappropriate or unethical behaviour by those in public office will not be tolerated.”

BBC News – Scotland

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