Tories oust Holyrood candidate after row over ‘heartless’ foodbank comments

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A TORY candidate for Holyrood has left the party after being briefly suspended for “heartless” comments about food bank users.

Former lecturer Craig Ross, who had been selected to stand in Glasgow Pollok, had been widely condemned after making derogatory remarks on his personal podcast.

He said people who used foodbanks were “far from starving” and often “overweight”, adding: “If anything, their biggest risk is not starvation, it’s diabetes.” 

After the remarks werre reported by the Daily Record, the Scottish Tories launched an investigation and suspended Mr Ross.

“These unacceptable comments do not reflect the views of the party,” they said this morning.

However, in an update, the party said Mr Ross was no longer a member, leaving the Tories having to find a replacement candidate for the seat, which is held by SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. 

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “Craig Ross is no longer a candidate or a member of the party.”

A source added: “He jumped before he was pushed.

“It was made very clear to him that his views were incompatible with being a candidate.”

The development followed the current Pollok MSP, SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, callling for Mr Ross to be “thrown out” of the Tories. 

He said: “His remarks that those who use foodbanks ‘are far from starving’ are utterly heartless.

“To then go on to deny institutional racism in the context of the murder of Stephen Lawrence is deplorable.”

In his podcast, Mr Ross, 56, said: “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.

“If anything, their biggest risk is not starvation, it’s diabetes.” 

He also made comments regarding the findings of a report into the Metropolitan Police into the infamous 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence which called the force “institutionally racist”.

Mr Ross said: “I remember my pal, the Metropolitan police officer, and his mates, and their reaction to that. How nauseated they were, how utterly sickened they were, to be told that there was something called institutional racism and that they worked in the institution and therefore they by implication were racists.”

He added: “This is the least racist country in the world.”

Mr Ross also called the Human Rights Act as an “obscenity” and claimed the idea that the UK benefited from migration was “false”.

He said: “We’ve taken everybody who has been mistreated by Slovakia, and said, ‘Come here, and work a little, and we will make it such that you have in effect won the lottery’.”

He was recently mocked for bragging about his ability to do pull-ups as part of his election campaigning.

I’m back, and making a serious point. I was overweight and physically weak. Most things are achieved through relentless hard work. By constantly telling people there’s a political solution to their problems – and only politics will work – you disempower them.#ScotlandNeedsChange pic.twitter.com/BydJ90yBUt
— Craig4Glasgow (@Craig4P) January 15, 2021

The SNP won Glasgow Pollok with a majority of 6,482 over Labour in 2016, with the Tories third on 9.5 per cent of the vote.

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