The Conservatives in Scotland have readmitted a former parliamentary candidate and councillor who made comments minimising the Holocaust after a “robust investigation” during which he apologised, but apparently there is no further sanction or expectation for him to undertake antisemitism training.
Ryan Houghton, had been the Conservatives’ candidate for Aberdeen North until it was discovered that he had written on a martial arts forum seven years ago, under the psedonym Razgriz, that although there was “no credible evidence to suggest the Holocaust did not happen” nevertheless “I do find some of the events fabricated, and exegarated [sic] in some cases.”
He continued: “As history is written by the victors there is always going to be a bit of re-writing.” He also praised the “interesting” research of the antisemitic Holocaust-denier, David Irving. However, in a later post he said that he was “not defending David’s Irving’s views” and that he does not agree with “some of the stuff he says.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)” is an example of antisemitism.
Cllr Houghton was suspended as a parliamentary candidate by the Party, albeit that he remained on the ballot because his nomination papers were already submitted. But he remained the council administration’s business manager and councillor and has now be readmitted to the Cobnservative Party.
Cllr Houghton said: “I apologised at the time and have done so in-person to anyone who has contacted me about the matter. The comments which led to my suspension were isolated and took place nearly a decade ago. They in no way reflect my political or professional record and I find prejudice of any kind abhorrent. I will continue to work and represent my constituents to the best of my ability.”
A Tory spokesman said an investigatory committee took into account Cllr Houghton’s “unreserved acceptance of what he had done when much younger was wrong”, noting he understood the “consequence of his actions”.
There is, however, no indication that Cllr Houghton has had to undertake antisemitism training or that any other sanction has been applied. Campaign Against Antisemitism has always maintained that suspension pending investigation is not in itself a sanction.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.