A FORMER Labour councillor who posted a discriminatory comment on the Facebook page of the chair of an LGBT+ group has been publicly rebuked by the local government ethics watchdog.

Tom McAughtrie, who served the Abbey ward of Dumfries and Galloway Council from 1980 to 2017, directed the comment at the chairperson and an Anglican priest at Greyfriars Church, Dumfries, who had appeared together in a photo.

Using his council-issued mobile phone, McAughtrie wrote: “Thankfully you two deviants were dealt the blow you deserve by the decent people of Dumfries.”

A three-strong panel of the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) rebuked him at a hearing in Dumfries today, which he declined to attend.

The panel gave him the severe formal reprimand of a censure as his behaviour and misuse of council facilities represented breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.

They made clear that had McAughtrie – who lost his seat at the local government elections last May – still been a councillor, he would have been suspended.

The only other sanction available to the panel was disqualification, but given his 30 years as a councillor, and taking into consideration character references from associates and former colleagues, the panel decided against disqualifying him.

Tricia Stewart, panel chair, said: “Those in public life must take steps to ensure their behaviour does not open the door to intimidation and must uphold high ethical standards.

“The hearing panel considered the language used in the posting was wholly unacceptable and unjustified and understandable the complainer felt threatened by it.”