Douglas Ross: Emails from Scottish Conservative leader reveal he tried to have travellers evicted for being 'too visible'

The Scottish Conservative leader has faced criticism after emails reveal he tried to have a family of travellers evicted by his local council because their camp was ‘very visible.’

Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader (Photo: Peter Summers).
Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader (Photo: Peter Summers).

In the email, originally reported by openDemocracy under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Ross also complains that the traveller site is expanding and asks the council what plans they have to remove the travellers.

Mr Ross wrote in his emails of 2018: “The site has now been occupied for some time and is in a very visible location as you enter Moray from the west.”

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

He added that the site “it seems to be getting bigger” and asked the council chief executive “what plans you have to take action to remove the Travellers from the site”.

Moray Council’s head of development services replied to Ross’s email, pointing out that the camp was on private land, was “clean and tidy”, and that there had been “no complaints alleging any type of anti-social behaviour”.

The European Roma Rights group told openDemocracy that the emails show that Ross has a “vendetta” against the traveller community and “this wouldn’t be tolerated with any other ethnic minority”.

The news comes after Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie challenged Ross about comments he made about the traveller community at the STV leaders’ debate

Asked what he would do if he was Prime Minister for a day, Mr Ross had replied: “I would like to see tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers."

The Conservative leader has since said he was “wrong” to make the comments and “deeply regrets” doing so.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.