Gillian Martin’s nomination as HE and FE minister dropped over blog posts

Written by Tom Freeman on 28 June 2018 in News

Gillian Martin left out of new ministerial appointments because of historical blog posts

Gillian Martin MSP 

Nicola Sturgeon has withdrawn her nomination of Gillian Martin as universities and colleges minister over “offensive and inappropriate” blog posts she wrote while employed as a college lecturer.

The Aberdeenshire East’s name was removed from the list of ministers due to be formally appointed today after opposition parties refused to endorse her.

The First Minister told MSPs: “It is with regret that I will not be asking parliament to approve the appointment of Gillian Martin as a minister."

Sturgeon said the blog’s content, “however ill-advised it might be, does not reflect the views of the person I know in Gillian Martin.”

The blog posts, which were written in 2007 and emerged in the press in 2016 before she was elected, complained about “political correctness” in colleges.

She said colleges would see “an orphaned, single-parent, gender-confused, blind, Aboriginal, one-legged, cross-dressing, lesbian, dyslexic, ex-con, Muslim” student as a “Holy Grail” because they would win the institution funding and publicity opportunities.

She said: “Are we going to see lovely photos in the foyer of hairy knuckled lipstick-wearing transitional transgender laydees being embraced by the principle of undisclosed college or visiting politicians for the press?”

In a statement Martin said: “I fully accept and understand the decision that the First Minister has taken.”

The language in her blog had been “inappropriate and offensive”, she said.

“I expressed myself in a way that did not reflect my view then and certainly does not reflect my view now.

“That is entirely my fault and I am sorry for it. That's why, when this blog was last raised publicly two years ago, I apologised and I am more than happy to unreservedly apologise again today.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard rejected Sturgeon's claim that she had only seen all the offending blog posts that morning.

“The First Minister knew about these comments and yet chose to attempt to put Gillian Martin in charge of Further and Higher Education,” he said.

“This is not just about the judgement of Gillian Martin, it’s about the judgement of Nicola Sturgeon.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw was scathing.

“A reshuffle that has been a year in the making should not stand as the most notorious reshuffle in the Parliament’s history,” he said.

“It is a shame - there are ministers who will be appointed this afternoon who deserve better, and there are ex-ministers saying their farewells who deserve more thanks.

“However, thanks to the First Minister, all of that will be drowned out. We support the appointments, but this is not how they should happen. That is deeply depressing for the Parliament.”

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