Scottish Ukip chair slammed for sectarian remarks

Andrew Thackeray has been referred to anti-sectarianism counselling after a series of Facebook posts which have been condemned by Ukip party members. Picture: Getty
Andrew Thackeray has been referred to anti-sectarianism counselling after a series of Facebook posts which have been condemned by Ukip party members. Picture: Getty
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The interim Scottish chairman for Ukip has been referred by his own party for anti-sectarianism counselling after describing Glasgow City Council as being for “gays, Catholics and communists.”

Ukip confirmed that it asked Arthur Thackeray to engage with anti-sectarian body Nil By Mouth because of his remarks.

Mr Thackeray also equated the ideology of Catholicism with fascism and complained of a “suffocating culture of anti-loyalism” in Scotland’s largest city.

Mr Thackeray’s comments were exposed in a series of Facebook posts published in 2011, saying: “There’s more chance of winning the lottery two weeks running than getting an openly Rangers-supporting MSP into the chamber of the institutionally catholicised pretendy parliament... lol.”

Referring to Glasgo’s local authority, he said: “No wonder the blue half of my city say GCC actually stands for the Glasgow Celtic Council for gays, Catholics and Communists eh. Lol. NS!”

Responding to his own remarks, published in the Sunday Herald, Thackeray said: “It is rather difficult to respond with any degree of accuracy to random comments allegedly made on a social network several years ago and now presented out of context by a newspaper with a clearly anti-Ukip editorial line. Such comments when taken in context would be considered merely routine social commentary by any experienced observer of Scottish political and cultural life.”

The LGBT wing of the party condemned Thackeray and called for him to reconsider his position, while Nil By Mouth said they were giving Ukip’s referral “due consideration”.

Uip SCotland’s head of policy Jonathan Stanley said: “While everyone has a right to express their views my belief is that the chance should be taken to distance Ulip from comments that are not supported by the party.

“As head of policy I have to ensure we credibly deliver a non-sectarian approach to supporting the United Kingdom in Scotland.”

Thomas Broker of Ukip LGBT said: “Mr Thackeray’s views are not in line with the party view. Given his position we ask him to withdraw his remarks and apologise.

“It is bewildering to hear that ‘gays’ are behind the anti-unionist movement, and if Mr Thackeray sees gay people as an opposition or movement to which he is opposed, he should reconsider his role and membership within Ukip.

Ukip’s latest brush with controversy follows the suspension of councillor David Silvester, who claimed that gay marriage legislation passed in Westminster late last year was the cause of a bout of flooding in the UK in recent weeks.

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