Council Leader says sorry after rally pics tweet storm
South Lanarkshire Council Leader John Ross has faced fierce criticism over a tweet he made at the weekend.
The Hamilton South councillor caused uproar among opposition councillors and offended many residents within the town.
He attended Saturday’s independence rally in Glasgow city centre and tweeted a photograph of a banner which stated: “Ram yer union up yer hoop”.
The post also showed an image of a Union Flag stuck into a pile of poo.
As well as posting the images, Cllr Ross also wrote “the perfect answer to our unionist friends”.
The Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem groups in South Lanarkshire have all criticised the SNP council leader for the tweet, which he has since deleted.
Some members of the public have called for his resignation, although others backed him.
Councillor Ross this week apologised to anyone who was offended by his post.
He said: “I respect that other people may not share my political views and will be careful to take cognizance of this in any future tweets.”
“I never intended to offend and my apologies go to anyone who was offended.”
Council Leader John Ross has been slammed for sending a controversial tweet with “the perfect answer to our unionist friends”.
Cllr Ross, who represents Hamilton South, attended Saturday’s independence rally in Glasgow, where he captured and tweeted two photographs which have since drawn condemnation from opposition councillors.
The photos highlighted banners on display during the rally, one of which stated: “Ram yer union up yer hoop.”
The other depicted a pile of poo with a Union Jack flying from it.
Liberal Democrat group leader Robert Brown and Labour group leader Joe Fagan have both criticised the SNP council leader for the tweet.
Cllr Brown (Rutherglen South) said: “I really don’t know what Councillor Ross is thinking of in pushing these childish and offensive tweets on social media.
“Sadly it is not the first time that we have had such stuff from the SNP leader of South Lanarkshire Council.
“Unpleasant comments like this show an arrogance and contempt for the views of other people we can do without – people are already bitterly divided by the independence issue and by Brexit without senior SNP representatives stoking the fires of resentment and prejudice.
“John Ross should recognise that the council leader represents everyone and stop being a cheerleader for the more unpleasant parts of his nationalist cause.”
Cllr Fagan (East Kilbride Central North) added: “John Ross is perfectly entitled to his opinions about independence, but as Leader of the Council he has a responsibility to everyone in South Lanarkshire, whether they voted Yes or No. He needs to remember that before he fires off another one of his tweets.”
Speaking for the Conservative group, Councillor Jared Wark (Rutherglen Central & North), said: “This tweet is unacceptable and falls below the standard. Councillor Ross, as Leader of the Council, has once again badly let down SLC by making it clear how he feels about the majority of its residents who do not share his views on independence.”
Cllr Ross has deleted the tweet and apologised
He said: “I was one of the thousands of people who took part in last weekend’s independence rally.
“My support for independence is well known, having been a member of the SNP since 1973, and I am proud to be part of the campaign for another independence referendum.
“It is very clear to me that the UK is presently in a mess and that Scotland would be better off out of the Union, and that was the essence of the messages on the posters that I tweeted from the rally.
“However, the wording and images were not the sort of thing I would use myself and when I had a chance to reflect on this, I decided to delete the tweet from my timeline.
“I respect that other people may not share my political views and will be careful to take cognizance of this in any future tweets.
“I’m fully committed to doing the best that I can for South Lanarkshire and all its residents, regardless of their political views or none.
“Certainly, I never intended to offend and my apologies go to anyone who was offended.”
All councillors are subject to the Standard’s Commission for Scotland’s code of conduct and receive social media advice as part of training based on the code.
Cllr Ross tweeted from his personal account and did not tweet in connection with his role as leader of South Lanarkshire Council.
South Lanarkshire Council declined to comment.
Unpleasant comments like this show arrogance and contempt for views of other people
Controversy Local politicians hit out after SLC leader John Ross tweeted pics from rally
Picture this Cllr John Ross posted these images from a rally on his personal Twitter account
Apology Council Leader John Ross deleted tweet from his account