Labour councillor slammed over ‘autism’ tweet

Willie Young is Aberdeen council's finance convener. Main picture: Getty

Willie Young is Aberdeen council's finance convener. Main picture: Getty

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THE SNP has called on Labour to discipline Aberdeen City Councillor Willie Young for making ‘offensive’ and ‘hurtful’ remarks on Twitter.

In a tweet sent at the weekend, Cllr Young, Aberdeen City Council’s finance convener, accused SNP MSP Mark McDonald of using his family and his autistic son as ‘political tools’.

Since his son Malcolm was diagnosed with the condition in 2011, Mr McDonald has campaigned to raise awareness of autism.

Cllr Young accused Mr McDonald of ‘going on about autism’ on the social media site.

The Labour councillor’s tweet continued: “SNP in Abdn (sic) closed down Raeden School then opposed our plans for new state of art school. Unbelievable.”

Earlier this year Mr McDonald had called on the council to consider using the old Summerhill Academy plot for a special needs school after Raeden Centre on Mid Stocket Road shut three years ago.

Education chiefs have instead earmarked land at Bucksburn Farm.

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Cllr Young tweeted: “I feel sorry for his [Mark McDonald’s] wife and family, using them as political tools.

“Some people never learn family sacred.” (sic)

Mr McDonald has written to Labour council leader Jenny Laing calling on her to ‘condemn’ Cllr Young’s remarks for being ‘offensive’ and asked her to take action against him.

The SNP has also called on Labour’s acting leader Anas Sarwar to discipline Cllr Young - and explain why his party failed to take action on the issue.

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart - a friend and colleague of Mark McDonald - said: “This is breath-taking hypocrisy from Scottish Labour.

“Willie Young’s tweet was offensive and deeply hurtful for Mark McDonald and his family – but no apology has been forthcoming from Mr Young or from the Scottish Labour party.

“Instead, all we have had from Labour is a disgraceful attempt to wash their hands of the matter. That is simply not good enough. When these matters arise, political parties should ensure they are acted on quickly – as the SNP has previously done.

“Mark and his family deserve an apology from Willie Young – and as Scottish Labour’s current acting leader, Anas Sarwar must discipline this councillor and explain why his party has failed so far to take responsibility when confronted with this issue.”

A Scottish Labour Party spokesman said: “The content of Twitter messages from Councillor Young are his responsibility.”

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