The Scottish Conservative Party has reportedly suspended Ryan Houghton, their general election candidate for Aberdeen North, over social media posts questioning evidence of the Holocaust. Mr Houghton remains on the ballot because his nomination papers are already submitted but he no longer represents the Conservative Party, which has withdrawn support for him.
In a post on a martial arts forum seven years ago, Mr Houghton wrote under the username, Razgriz, that there was “no credible evidence to suggest the Holocaust did not happen” but revealed that “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.
Mr Houghton is also accused of having made homophobic and anti-Muslim statements online. In a statement, he said: “I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish community in Aberdeen.” Mr Houghton also said that he was a member of the Holocaust Education Trust (HET), had visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and has “never held antisemitic or intolerant views.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The comments contained in these blogs are unacceptable and Mr Houghton has been suspended as a member of the Scottish Conservative party as a result. The party has also withdrawn its support for his candidacy in Aberdeen North. The Scottish Conservatives deplore all forms of Islamophobia, homophobia and antisemitism.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends the Scottish Conservatives for their firm and swift action in suspending Mr Houghton and sending a strong message that antisemitism in political parties will not be tolerated.