Holyrood candidate quits Scottish Tories after labelling food bank users ‘fat’

A Holyrood candidate suspended by the Scottish Conservatives for suggesting “fat” food bank users are “far from starving” has left the party.
Holyrood candidate quits Scottish Tories after labelling food bank users ‘fat’Holyrood candidate quits Scottish Tories after labelling food bank users ‘fat’
Holyrood candidate quits Scottish Tories after labelling food bank users ‘fat’

Craig Ross also expressed scepticism about the UK Government listening to campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford about food poverty and feeding hungry children.

The Scottish Tories suspended Mr Ross over the “unacceptable comments”, after they were unearthed by the Daily Record newspaper.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The party has now confirmed he is no longer a member and will not be the Tory candidate for the Glasgow Pollok constituency in May’s parliamentary election.

A Scottish Conservative source said: “He left before he was pushed.

“It was made abundantly clear to him that he could not hold those views and be a candidate for the party.”

Responding to a comment about no longer having to “toe the party line”, Mr Ross tweeted: “I suddenly feel as if I can breathe.

“As I said to the party guys this morning – and they were very decent about it – There’s something I should have told the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party a long time ago. I’m actually a Conservative and a unionist.”

Mr Ross faced criticism over comments made on his podcast discussing coverage of people using food banks.

He said: “Their biggest risk is not starvation, it’s diabetes.”

He also claimed Manchester United star Rashford organised an “online mob” to pressure the Government to change its policy on free school meals for pupils.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Ross said: “Has Marcus Rashford stood for election to anything? Not that I’m aware of.

“So should we turn our welfare policy upside down in order to suit Rashford’s view as to what would be decent?”

During the podcast, which aired on June 29, he said: “In this world of such tremendous hunger, in this world where people are routinely struggling to eat, in this world where people appear on Channel 4 News and talk about how their children eat but they don’t because they can’t afford to – almost everybody in that world is grossly overweight.

“And again people can’t accept this. People have no idea how fat they are.

“I’m not saying that every single person who claims to be really hungry and is reliant on charity is also very overweight, but what I am saying is if Channel 4 News is having a reasonable go at showing the reality of food bank usage, then we know that the people that they film are far from starving.”

In the wide-ranging podcast, Mr Ross argued food potentially has less “meaning” now than for other generations, reflecting on how he and his family used to “stuff themselves” when food was available.

He said: “Food had a meaning in the 1980s, earlier for a lot of folk, that perhaps it doesn’t have now,”

“There isn’t really an expectation any longer that you should eat simple things that are full of energy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If someone was forced to consider the number of calories in a foodstuff and whether it’s the sort of thing you should buy, that would be thought to be indecent.”

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.