Tory MSP under pressure to step down after rape comments

23
1913

Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Aitken is under growing pressure to resign after making comments implying that a gang-rape victim may have been a prostitute.

Mr Aitken made the comments in a phone conversation with a reporter from the Sunday Herald who had called the outspoken list MSP for Glasgow seeking his views on a spate of similar attacks in and around the city.

The veteran Tory MSP who entered Holyrood in 1999 recently announced that he intends to quit politics at the next Scottish elections.  However there are already calls for Aitken to be removed from his role as convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, which helps formulate rape laws.

Opposition politicians condemned Mr Aitken’s remarks with FM Alex Salmond describing such views as “abhorrent”.

During a live webchat on the Mumsnet forum, Mr Salmond said: “I deprecate Bill Aitken’s reported comments, which were rightly greeted with outrage from both general public and across the political spectrum.  I don’t think they really represented his views, and in fairness, he did apologise later.  However, it does illustrate two dangers.

“Firstly, the implicit assumptions betrayed a dreadful attitude to the serious crime of rape, which is abhorrent for any person.  Secondly, the temptation of politicians to occasionally shoot first and think later. It can cause deep hurt and upset.”

Mr Salmond’s comments follow criticism from the Labour deputy leader, Johann Lamont, who said: “No woman is ever to blame for rape and we need to challenge these attitudes by turning the focus on the male perpetrators.”