Scots Tory Bill Aitken MSP laughed victim ‘must have been dragged half a mile’, reveals newspaper’s transcript. BILL AITKEN MSP, the Scottish Conservative’s shadow Community Safety Minister and now former Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, having been forced to resign after a motion was lodged at Holyrood calling for him to quit, is reported in a transcript of an interview with the Sunday Herald Newspaper to have laughed that the victim “must have been dragged about half a mile” on top of insinuating the rape victim was a prostitute.
The Herald newspaper published today what it calls the full transcript of the interview, after it appeared Mr Aitken, who was forced to resign his position as Convener of Holyrood’s sole Justice Committee, appeared to put the blame on the Sunday Herald journalist for his own political troubles after his comments over the rape case were reported by the Sunday Herald last weekend.
Challenged by the newspaper over what he said in the interview, Mr Aitken then proceeded to deny he had even made the comments until he was shown a transcript of the interview. The Sunday Herald further reported the Scottish Conservative’s current boss, Annabel Goldie, refused to condemn her Tory Party colleague for his remarks, and then apparently “turned and walked away.”
Report from The Herald follows :
22 Feb 2011
Last night Bill Aitken MSP resigned as convenor of Holyrood's Justice Committee following his comments to the Sunday Herald about the victim of an alleged gang rape.
In his resignation statement, he said: "By asking a journalist by way of background during his inquiry to me, about the circumstances of a particular case I left myself open to misrepresentation."
For the record, this is a transcript of Aitken's conversation with this newspaper.
Sunday Herald: Hello Mr Aitken, Matthew Holehouse here at the Sunday Herald
Bill Aitken: Yes how you doing?
Sunday Herald: I'm alright thank you, how are you?
Bill Aitken: Oh, fine.
Sunday Herald: Wondering if I could chat to you about the-- have you seen the Evening Times today?
Bill Aitken: Nope!
Sunday Herald: The police are looking for another Glasgow City Centre rape gang. I think from our counting it is the four or possibly fifth sexual assault in the city centre
Bill Aitken: Alleged
Sunday Herald: Alleged sexual assault since Christmas. Police are saying it's fairly - you know it was a brazen attack, it was shocking by the...
Bill Aitken: This one does seem to be a nasty one. Where had the women been, to that Savoy disco was it ?
Sunday Herald: Can you say that again ?
Bill Aitken: Where had the woman been to the suave club?
Sunday Herald: I'm not sure if we know that yet, unless you've read more than i have.
Bill Aitken: Well the address is indicative.
Sunday Herald: It was the Walkabout area. Renfield Street way.
Bill Aitken: Renfrew Street was it not.
Sunday Herald: Renfrew Lane off Renfield street yes.
Bill Aitken: Aye exactly.
Sunday Herald: We're interested in the pattern really. That, sort of, testing this idea that are we are returning to something we thought might have stamped out, which was very brazen attacks in the city centre, lane rapes. What do you think?
Bill Aitken: Well, I really think we need to know a bit more about these. You know, they are not always as they seem to be, put it that way.
Sunday Herald: How do you mean?
Bill Aitken: Errr. Well. If I was a woman up a lane.
Sunday Herald: Right. She was dragged off the street.
Bill Aitken: From Renfrew Street?
Sunday Herald: Yeah this is the thing.
Bill Aitken: Huh.
Sunday Herald: She was dragged off Renfield Street into the lane
Bill Aitken: No she wasn't in Renfield Sreet, she was in Renfrew Sreet, was she not.
Sunday Herald: Errrm. Right... I mean, what I understood she was raped in Renfrew Lane, but she was dragged off Renfield street. I might be wrong.
Bill Aitken: She must have been dragged about half a mile then. Ha ha ha ha.
Sunday Herald: Ok. Either way. I mean there's an element of dragging, which mirrors you know
Bill Aitken: No hold on. I'm not taking the (INDISTINCT) If this woman was dragged halfway through the town then it just couldn't possibly happen. So has nobody asked her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane?
Sunday Herald: Right. What do you think she was doing?
Bill Aitken: Well, I think, errr, somebody should be asking her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane. Did she go there with somebody?
Sunday Herald: Right. What I'm getting at is are you not concerned that there have been four, five alleged gang rapes? In the city centre? In the space of two months
Bill Aitken: Well what is particularly noteworthy in this case is it's three Asian people right they are looking for. Now, Renfrew Lane is known as a place where things happen, put it that way.
Sunday Herald: What sort of things?
Bill Aitken: Well its an area where quite a lot of the hookers take their clients. Now that may not have happened in this case Errrm. But you know. What was happening? Errr... Certainly we cannot have a situation where women are getting dragged off the streets and up lanes and raped. Erm, but you know... Are the police saying its the same outfit?
Sunday Herald: No this is the thing, they are saying this and three or four attacks we are looking at since Christmas are completely unrelated. One was Asian, one was middle eastern and there was a white group. And yet they appear to be such... There was a woman who was literally dragged off Buchanan Street into a lane. Sorry, carry on where were you?
Bill Aitken: Right. Well, you always know there's a lot more to these city centre rapes than meet the eye of course. But this does sound concerning. So what I will be saying ermm [begins dictation pace] there is a disturbing pattern and while the offences may not be related it is absolutely essential that unaccompanied women take the greatest care when walking in these areas. I have little doubt that the police will eventually get a result but it is a disturbing situation none the less. Okay?
Sunday Herald: That's really helpful. Thank you.
Bill Aitken: Right! Ok?
Sunday Herald: No that's great. Appreciate it.
Bill Aitken: Is there anything else you're wanting? Want me to toughen it up?
Sunday Herald: You were mentioning the fact it's an asian gang but I'm not really sure if it's relevent. Doesn't seem to be a pattern going that way. What do you think?
Bill Aitken: If youse got an asians, then you've said you've got middle eastern. If they're asians is that the same outfit? How do you tell a middle eastern from an asian?
Sunday Herald: Well police are saying not.
Bill Aitken: Well they'll know what they're talking about.
Sunday Herald: Great, Right, thanks for your help Bill. Bye.
Bill Aitken: Cheers then bye