SNP MSP will ‘continually apologise’ for offensive comments

Gillian Martin made the comments in a blog post before she enterred politics. Picture: Contributed
Gillian Martin made the comments in a blog post before she enterred politics. Picture: Contributed
Have your say

An MSP who lost out on a ministerial post because of “ill-advised” comments made in a blog post more than a decade ago has conceded she should not have used the language she did.

READ MORE - SNP Minister Gillian Martin axed from education role

Gillian Martin said her remarks were “continually worthy of apology”, as she stated: “I would not use that language now and should not have then.”

The former college lecturer had been put forward for the post of further education, higher education and science minister in Nicola Sturgeon’s recent cabinet reshuffle.

She was photographed with the First Minister and other new ministerial appointments - but her nomination did not go forward after the remarks, which Ms Martin made back in 2007, were reported in the press.

In a blog, written before she entered politics, she wrote about “hairy-knuckled, lipstick-wearing transitional laydees” and said college PR staff “froth at the mouth with excitement if anyone in a wheelchair does anything that can be remotely described as an achievement”.

Other comments, read out in Holyrood, were critical of black people and Jewish people in America.

While the blog posts - described by the First Minister as “ill-advised” - have now been deleted, Ms Martin said: “These quotes will always be out there and continually worthy of apology, I understand.”

Writing in the Press and Journal newspaper, the Aberdeenshire East MSP pledged: “I will apologise every time they come up, and I’ll be genuine in that because I can’t bear discrimination - whether it takes the form of racism, transphobia, sexism or intolerance.

“It is regrettable that my writing skills could not always convey my aversion to such discrimination, but I hope that my actions have and always will.”

She also stated she would continue to serve as MSP for her constituency, vowing she would be “giving my all to the job that is the greatest privilege of my life”.

She said the comments made about black and Jewish people stemmed from her experience working as a waitress in a New Orleans bar and restaurant in the summer of 1990.

Ms Martin said: “I was told that in order to stop the waiters fighting over the best tipping customers, they had to have a rota system in place.

“Staff relied on tips and were vocal about the tables they preferred to serve and those preferences were explained to me in stark racial terms - descriptions which shocked me at the time too.”

But she said they had been read out “without context” by Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw in Holyrood.

READ MORE - New SNP minister Gillian Martin apologises for ‘anti-trans’ comments