THE new Conservative deputy leader of Moray Council has come under scrutiny for an old tweet in which he said that people should not have children if they cannot afford to pay for them. 

Moray Council has gone through a restructuring process following the resignation of Marc Macrae, who stepped down after being described as unfit for office following bullying allegations. 

On Thursday, SNP Councillor Jérémie Fernandes posted an old tweet from the now Conservative deputy leader Councillor Donald Gatt where he appeared to take issue with Scotland’s provision of free school meals. 

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Gatt’s tweet read: “My choice not to have children.

“Why do I have to pay for meals for those who choose to have them. 

“If you can’t afford children buy #Durex.” 

Fernandes' own response read: “These are the views of the new Conservative deputy leader of the Moray Council. 

“During a cost-of-living crisis, the Tories thought it was a good appointment.

“It’s a slap in the face of the 4000 families living in poverty in Moray."

Moray Council approved changes to the leadership on Wednesday which will now see a sole position of council leader, rather than co-leaders.

Gatt has taken up the position of deputy leader to fill in for Conservative council leader Kathleen Robertson when required. 

Speaking to The National, the SNP group leader and Councillor for Elgin City South, Graham Leadbitter, said: “Although we weren’t opposing the re-organisation of the administration, we did make the point that we hoped his [Gatt’s] appointment into a more elevated position would cause him to reflect on the tone of his social media contributions. 

“Many will find these deeply offensive.

“He’s also previously referred to the SNP as a cult, which is offensive to the tens of thousands of members that we have.”

Gatt has used the term to refer to the SNP as recently as this month.

In response to news that prime ministerial hopeful Liz Truss said Nicola Sturgeon should be "ignored", he tweeted: "The cult will be raging!"

In July 2021, Gatt also tweeted in response to an SNP post about Baroness Ruth Davidson taking her place in the House of Lords, calling the party a "grievance cult".

Leadbitter described Gatt’s posts as “unedifying” and that it showed a lack of “understanding of the lives of people on the lowest incomes, many of whom are struggling to pay for the most basic needs”.

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Leadbitter continued: “I sincerely hope having been appointed to one of the most senior positions in the Council that he will reflect on these views and take a more conciliatory and understanding approach to people who find themselves in extremely difficult financial circumstances in the cost of living crisis that so many families are currently in the grip of.”

On Thursday, energy companies are set to meet with Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as the price cap is expected to hit over £4000 in January. 

Cllr Gatt has been approached for comment.