Councillor hits out at provost’s use of ‘homophobic’ slur

Provost Jim Robertson
Provost Jim Robertson

A councillor says he was offended by North Lanarkshire provost Jim Robertson’s use of ‘homophobic’ language during a council meeting.

During a debate on fracking last month Councillor Robertson, who was chairing the meeting, called Mossend and Holytown councillor David Baird a ‘wuss’ for the way he was trying to get the attention of the chair.

According to ‘wuss’ is American slang for a feeble or effeminate person and Councillor Baird alleges while he wasn’t too bothered that the provost used it once he became increasingly offended as it was repeated.

Councillor Baird said: “When the provost used the term for the first time I said that I didn’t feel he should use such language in the chamber as it is homophobic, but in all he used it three times.

“The first time I wasn’t personally offended, I thought it was totally inappropriate but was prepared to put it down to a generational thing and let it go.

“However, after he called me it twice more during the course of the meeting I did feel it was becoming rather personal and it did get to the stage where I was offended.

“We have had a number of strong exchanges in the chamber as I feel he tends to favour one side over the other during meetings, but there has never been any enmity between us outside the chamber so I don’t know why he behaved like this.”

Provost Robertson is adamant he only said ‘wuss’ once and dismissed any suggestion he was being homophobic.

He said: “With hindsight my remark was probably a little undiplomatic, and I actually apologised at the meeting, but I would utterly refute Councillor Baird’s suggestion it was in any way homophobic.

“It was intended as a light-hearted comment and nothing more.”