MSP axed from education role

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

The Scottish Government have dropped plans to appoint Gillian Martin as junior education minister over an “offensive” blog post from 2007.

Ms Martin’s name has been removed from the list of ministers due to be formally appointed to the Scottish Government at Holyrood this afternoon after it was revealed she had made “deeply offensive” remarks about transgender people.

Reports suggested the Scottish Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens were set to oppose Ms Martin’s nomination.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson tweeted: “Pleased the Scottish Government have withdrawn Gillian Martin’s nomination for minister. We spoke to them this morning to confirm this was not an appointment we could support following comments published this morning.”

Ms Martin was forced to apologise after a blog she wrote before she entered politics came to light.

In the blog, Ms Martin asked whether efforts to promote transgender rights would lead to images of “hairy knuckled, lipstick wearing transitional laydees (sic)” appearing in colleges.

Ms Martin also wrote in her blog about college PR staff using disabled people in photo opportunities.

She wrote: “(They) froth at the mouth with excitement if anyone in a wheelchair does anything that can be remotely described as an achievement”.

The contents of her 2007 blog were raised with Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Mr Leonard noted that Ms Martin’s named had been removed from the list of new ministers.

Mr Leonard said: “The point is this the First Minister knew about these comments and proposed to put Gillian Martin in charge of further and higher education. In the end this is not just about the judgement of Gillian Martin – First Minister this is about your judgement, isn’t it?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “After FMQs we will come on to the issue of ministerial appointments and I’ll address that issue directly at that stage.”