Councillors ordered not to say ‘Tories’ at council meetings

A Conservative member said the term was 'derogatory'.

Councillors ordered not to say ‘Tories’ at council meetings NAC

A councillor has been ordered not to say the word “Tories” at a council meeting after a Conservative politician branded it derogatory.

Councillor Todd Ferguson objected to SNP councillor Tony Gurney uttering the term twice at the North Ayrshire meeting.

But councillor Gurney retaliated by pointing out the Scottish Conservatives official Twitter handle is “ScotTories”. 

After raising a point of order in the meeting, councillor Ferguson said: “It is a derogatory term and I would prefer if you call us by our appropriate name, which is the Conservatives or Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.”

Hitting back, councillor Gurney said: “On media the handle for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party as chosen for them by their Westminster colleagues is ScotsTories.”

Chairing the meeting, provost councillor Ian Clarkson interrupted an argument between the pair.

Provost Clarkson said: “Councillor Gurney if you are speaking about the Conservative and Unionist Party, please do it like that.”

Going forward politicians are now recommended to use the term Conservative or Conservative and Unionist according to minutes issued after the meeting last week.

The spat erupted when Ardrossan councillor Gurney brought forward an amendment to address ferry failings to Arran.

The amendment called for the council chief executive to write to Calmac, Transport Scotland, the Scottish transport minister and chief executives of Peel Ports expressing the frustrations over services. 

It followed a motion brought by Conservative leader Tom Marshall pointing out the failures of Calmac to operate an efficient and dependable service to Arran.

It said the removal of the Isle of Arran to cover routes elsewhere in Scotland cost £2.7m. It also pointed out a lack of a backup for the repeated breakdown of the boat serving Cumbrae. 

It called for a meeting between the transport minister, ferries minister and the island members.

Following his motion, council leader Joe Cullinane lodged an amendment, which was carried.

It called for several actions including asking ministers to attend a summit with island groups, businesses and public bodies to discuss the need for a reliable ferry service.

It said the Keep it A to B campaign, which fought for the Arran ferry to continue operating from Ardrossan, may be resurrected.

The amendment said it may recommence if “Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers continue to delay finalising the agreements for the Ardrossan Harbour works”.

Story by local democracy reporter Sarah Hilley

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