Far-right group Facebook posts prove costly for Skye Councillor

A Skye Councillor has been stripped of two senior council positions, after sharing the online postings of the far right group Britain First.

As a result of the complaints over two posts on his Facebook site, Drew Millar has now resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats.

The long serving Portree-based councillor had chaired Highland Council’s community safety, public engagement and equalities committee, and was also leading the customer services board examining the future of the area’s service point network.

Councillor Millar has pledged to serve the remainder of his term in office as an independent.

The posts from his Facebook site have now been removed, but speaking to the Free Press today (Friday) Councillor Millar was unrepentant. He said many would share the sentiments contained within the online messages.

 

One of the posts had urged: “Nick Clegg says teaching British values in schools could offend moderate Muslims — share if you think Nick Clegg is a cretin.”

On its website, Britain First — an offshoot of the British National Party — describes itself as a movement of British “nationalism, patriotism and democracy,” which views Islam as an “alien and destructive” doctrine.

Drew Millar HC Portraits 10cm

Councillor Millar said he had been stripped of the committee posts before he had been given a chance to explain himself. As a result, he had decided to leave the party.

“I served as an independent for 15 years before joining the LibDems, so it won’t make a great deal of difference to me or the constituents,” he added.

Mr Millar said it had always been his intention to step down as councillor at the next election in two years’ time.

A statement released today by the Highland Liberal Democrat Council group said: “In early October, the group was made aware that Councillor Drew Millar of Skye had shared with friends on his Facebook page images and comments which came from Britain First, an extreme right-wing organisation. This was anti-Islamic material used by Britain First to stir up religious hatred.

“The group immediately acted to make the convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats aware of this and he initiated the process of investigating the complaint. Under party rules this is a matter for the office bearers of the National Executive, who have an obligation to follow due process and conduct the investigation in a thorough and impartial manner.

“Due to the nature of the material, Councillor Millar was given the opportunity to voluntarily stand aside from his position as Chair of the Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee while the investigation was underway.

“He declined to do so and has subsequently resigned from the LibDem Group on Highland Council and resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats.

“The group will now nominate a new chair of the CPE Committee. This is a formal decision for the full Highland Council which meets on 30th October.”

The statement added: “In the strongest possible terms, the Liberal Democrat Group condemns the dissemination of such material as utterly reprehensible and wholly unacceptable. It has no place in our free and tolerant society and any councillor, from any political party, should face swift and appropriate action when found to be in breach of stringent regulations governing the conduct of members.”