Tory in indy sexist claim

A councillor has been accused of making outdated sexist comments during an independence debate and has been urged to apologise.

Tory Jim Fullerton is said to have made an offensive remark during a National Farmers Union Scotland discussion at The Lodge at Carfraemill on Monday.

Kirsty Boyle says she heard the councillor describe the Yes We Can campaign slogan as being “better than a woman closing her legs and saying no”.

She says the remark was made during the last third of the debate while Councillor Fullerton was on his feet at the back of the hall.

Ms Boyle, who was sitting two rows from the councillor, concedes it wasn’t heard by the chairman or the six-strong Yes-No panel. But says others sitting close to her did.

She works for Scot Nat MSP Paul Wheelhouse but denies her claims are political.

She told us : “I found it horrendous because I had personal experiences and issues about 10 years ago. I don’t see this as a referendum issue and I don’t see it as a reflection on the Conservatives as a whole.”

And in a letter to our sister paper the Berwickshire News she urged him to apologise and wrote: “I would encourage him to engage with women who have suffered abuse – mental, physical and sexual – to find out why his comments are unacceptable, because I don’t for a minute think he will fully understand why his ideas are so misplaced in modern society.”

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume was on the panel.

He told us: Councillor Fullerton was sitting at the back. I can’t say if he said it or not. It was a robust meeting.”

A spokesperson for the NFUS commented: “There has been no negative feedback to either the chair of the event Stuart McNicol or the organisers.

“It was a robust debate with quite a lot of interventions from the floor.”

Councillor Fullerton failed to respond to attempts by both the Berwickshire News and The Southern to obtain a comment. Conservative HQ in Edinburgh said they had not received a complaint, but added: “We believe both sides in the independence argument should use appropriate language and keep the quality of debate as high as possible at all times.”

At the time of going to press The Southern understands party officials had not been able to speak to Councillor Fullerton.

Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said he was not aware of any complaint being made to the council or the Standards Commission.

He added: “The Code of Conduct is clear – councillors should not use inappropriate language. If such a comment was made in the council chamber it would warrant a discussion with the councillor.”