MSP hits out at potential Tory rival over ‘heartless’ Facebook post

South Scotland Conservative list MSP Michelle Ballantyne has been slammed by a political rival for sharing a Facebook post questioning why wealthy people should pay for the poor and unemployed.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:02 am
Christine Grahame MSP

The social media message shared by the Tories’ Holyrood welfare spokesperson on her old Scottish Borders Councillor page was initially posted by another user, outlining what it called the “five best sentences”.

They include statements such as ‘what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving’ and ‘The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else’.

The post asks: “Can you think of a reason for not sharing this? Neither could I.”

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MSP Michelle Ballantyne's controversial social media post.

Mrs Ballantyne, a list MSP since 2017, replacing Rachael Hamilton after she resigned to contest the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire by-election, has been tipped as a possible future contender to lead the Scottish Conservatives.

She has been picked by her party to contest the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale constituency, held by Scottish National Party MSP Christine Grahame since 2011, at the next Scottish Parliament election.

Ms Grahame said: “Michelle Ballantyne has a long track record of outrageous comments.

“She is completely out of touch with the real lives of people on low incomes.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP.

“This latest outburst shows a callous indifference to the very real suffering inflicted on people by her own party.

“That Michelle Ballantyne is in the running to lead the Tories speaks volumes.

“The mask has well and truly slipped, and the party has a duty to address these completely heartless comments.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Michelle believes any welfare system has to help those who need it most and be fair and affordable.”