Gregor Murray, a former councilor of Dundee City Council, was reprimanded by a guard dog and found to have disrespected a city council officer.
Murray was Scotland’s only transgender councilor and identify as non-binary, meaning they use the pronouns ‘they/them’ and identify as neither male nor female.
A hearing by the Standards Commission for Scotland today took into account comments and contributions it made on Twitter and in emails to a Council official in March and April 2022.
Paul Walker, Chair of the Standards Commission and Chair of the Hearings Panel, said: “In this case, the panel considered former Murray Councilman’s tweets, which were directed at two members of the public, to be wholly offensive and unfounded.”
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“In addition, the panel believed that former City Councilman Murray’s conduct towards a city council officer was wholly inappropriate and unacceptable.
“The panel accepted that former Councilman Murray was entitled to tell the officer that they no longer wished to have any contact with him.
“However, the panel agreed that it could have done so in a respectful manner without reference to the officer’s assumed personal characteristics.”
At the Dundee hearing, the Standards Commission hearing panel learned that there was no dispute that former Councilor Murray posted a comment on Twitter in response to a tweet from a citizen, saying: “With absolutely no respect what.” anyway, let’s go, TERF”.
The panel noted that there was also no dispute over former Councilman Murray calling another member of the public “C*nt” in a comment posted to Twitter on March 27, 2022.
The panel heard that after receiving an email from a senior council official informing Murray that complaints had been made about her Twitter posts, Murray responded by saying that the council official should “tell anyone who is interested in something,” adding, “For…” For the avoidance of doubt, I’m not one of them.”
They also wrote, “If I ever wanted to hear from more grossly overpaid, overprivileged, seedy white men in politics who are actively working to marginalize marginalized communities, I have absolutely no shortage of choice.”
The Code of Conduct for Council Members requires Council members to treat colleagues, Council officers and members of the public with courtesy and respect.
Murray said at the hearing that they felt the public’s comments were transphobic.
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However, the panel concluded that even if this were a truly held belief, it did not mean that Murray had the right to use profanity and derogatory language against them in a public forum and that “they had their views and opinions.” without resorting to profanity.” and personal abuse.”
The panel’s findings said it “agreed that not only that [council] While officers have every right to contact former Cllr Murray and let them know that grievances have been received about them, it was also fair and courteous that he did so.
“The panel was satisfied that the officer’s emails were thoroughly professional and respectful in both tone and content, and felt that former Murray Councilman’s responses were wholly inappropriate and disrespectful.”
It added: “The panel noted that it was uncontested that former Councilman Murray had referenced his assumptions about the officer’s personal characteristics, including his race, gender identity and sexual orientation, in his response.”
“The panel was satisfied that former Councilman Murray indicated that her refusal to engage was based, at least in part, on her assumptions about those traits.”
The panel concluded that Murray had breached the provision in the code, which states that councilors must not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of the various protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, which include race, gender and sexual orientation.
The hearing results also said that Murray had shown no remorse, understanding or insight into the impact of his behavior on other people.
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The panel said it would have imposed a “longer suspension” as the appropriate sanction, but could not because Murray is no longer a councilman.
Hence Murray blamed it.
Mr Walker added: “The Standards Commission believes that councilors should be able to express their views and opinions without resorting to profanity and personal slurs.”
Murray previously appeared before the Standards Commission after making comments on Twitter to a member of the public that the panel found “disrespectful” and amounted to “harassment”.
However, taking into account the former SNP politician’s freedom of expression, the hearing ruled that a formal determination of a violation of the code of conduct and the imposition of a sanction could not be “justified”.
Murray was also previously embroiled in an internal SNP dispute after SNP MP Joan McAlpine filed a complaint about abuse she allegedly received on Twitter.