1. ITV Report

Tory councillor apologises for sharing ‘Muslim women as patio umbrellas’ post

Ruth Davidson has been urged to act on Islamophobia within the Scottish Tories (Andrew Milligan/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

A Scottish Conservative councillor has apologised for sharing an image comparing Muslim women to patio umbrellas.

Aberdeenshire councillor and deputy provost Ron McKail is reported to have shared an image of three folded black patio umbrellas on Facebook.

The post shared in 2016 included the text: “I spent half an hour talking to them, wanting to learn about their culture until the bartender cut me off and told me they were patio umbrellas.”

The apology came amid a wider row in the party over comments made by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson on burkas.

Boris Johnson made comments in which he compared women wearing face-covering veils to bank robbers Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Mr Johnson has refused to apologise for comments comparing women wearing face-covering veils to bank robbers and letter boxes despite condemnation from senior Tory figures including Scottish party leader Ruth Davidson.

Mr McKail has previously said sorry for sharing social media posts from the far-right group Britain First.

He said the patio umbrella image was part of the same group of posts, adding: “The post in question was shared more than two years ago and contained two photos, one of which was a poppy with the message ‘Support our Soldiers’. I am a former serviceman and that is why I shared it.

“When this was first reported in the press in 2017, I apologised unreservedly, and I do so again now.

“I have removed this post and I have made clear I did not intend to cause offence, just to show my support for the UK military.”

Mr McKail, who represents the Westhill and District ward, told the Daily Record that he did not agree with Mr Johnson’s comments.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Councillor McKail has taken the post down and apologised. He understands that this is not appropriate.”

A woman wearing a burka joins a protest near Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative office following his comments Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

A spokesman for the SNP said: “This is typical hypocrisy from Ruth Davidson – she’s outraged about Islamophobia when it suits her but turns a blind eye when it’s in her own party.

“The Tories need to get their house in order – vile Islamophobic and bigoted views are rife within their party, to the point where they think someone with these views is an acceptable choice to be deputy provost in Aberdeenshire.

“The Muslim Council of Scotland have called on Ruth Davidson to take action and root out Islamophobia within her party – a call that has fallen on deaf ears.

“Perhaps Ruth Davidson should concentrate on removing the deeply-ingrained racism and Islamophobia on her own patch before trying to occupy any moral high ground on the back of comments by her party colleagues south of the border.”