A Scottish Tory councillor has been dragged into the Boris Johnson burka row after it emerged he compared Muslim women to patio umbrellas.
Aberdeenshire deputy provost Ron McKail apologised last night after the Daily Record confronted him over social media posts mocking women who wear traditional Islamic dress.
McKail, who sits on the council’s education and children’s committee, shared an image of several long cloth coverings with hoods on Facebook.
The accompany text said: “I spent half an hour talking to them, wanting to learn about their culture until the bartender cut me off and told me they were patio umbrellas.”
The inflammatory post from 2016 emerged as the fallout of Johnson’s comments about the burka continued to dominate the headlines.
The ex-Foreign Secretary has rejected calls to apologise for saying people wearing burkas looked like “letter boxes” or “bank robbers”, in a Daily Telegraph column in which he also argued against a ban on full-face veils.
Branding the symbol “oppressive”, Johnson claimed: “It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.”
Critics have accused him of stoking Islamophobia to boost his leadership ambitions.
It emerged yesterday he is facing a possible investigation into breaches of the party’s code of conduct after dozens of complaints were received. They will now be probed by an independent panel which could refer Johnson to the party’s board, which has the power to expel him.
The party declined to comment on the details of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said officers decided Johnson did not commit an offence.
McKail, who represents the Westhill ward in Aberdeenshire, previously apologised for sharing social media posts from far-right political party Britain First and the English Defence League. At the time, he said he was “not savvy about social media” and had not realised where the posts had come from.
Last night, he claimed the patio umbrella image was part of the same group of posts. He said :“I have apologised for sharing that and made clear I thought I was sharing material in support of British troops.”
Asked if he agreed with Boris Johnson’s comments on the burka, he said: “Not at all. No.”
But the SNP insisted the post was evidence of further Islamophobia within the Conservative party.
“This is typical hypocrisy from Ruth Davidson – she’s outraged about Islamophobia when it suits her, but turns a blind eye when it’s in her own party,” said a spokesman.
“The Muslim Council of Scotland have called on Ruth Davidson to take action and root out Islamophobia within her party – a call that has fallen on deaf ears.”
A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “Councillor McKail has taken the post down and apologised. He understands that this is not appropriate.”