Anti-marriage equality MSP expelled over abuse claims returns to Holyrood

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A member of the Scottish Parliament who likened an anti-homophobia logo to a Nazi initiative and said gay relationships should not be ‘in any way equal’ to straight marriages has returned to parliament after being expelled from the SNP over domestic abuse claims.

Bill Walker, 71, had been called on to resign over an admission he slapped one of his three former wives and further claims of domestic abuse, but returned to parliament this week saying he would “cheer on” First Minister Alex Salmond, the Scotsman reports.

The member for Dunfermline West was suspended and ultimately expelled from the party, but has returned to Holyrood after the Easter recess saying pledging to maintain regular duties as an “independent nationalist”.

In 2011, Mr Walker had backed a motion at parliament tabled by fellow SNP MSP John Mason which said no one should be forced to approve or “be involved” with gay marriages.

Mr Walker responded to an emailed enquiry asking his views on marriage equality for gay couples with the single word “rubbish”.

He had described being “upset” about people calling him bigoted, saying: “There are things called civil partnerships, which I accept, but I’m really concerned about the use of the term ‘gay marriage’ because to me it’s a contradiction in terms, and anything that puts homosexual relationships as any way equal to male-female marriages is just not right.”

Gay SNP MEP Alyn Smith said at the time: “The plea that nobody should be forced to even approve of same sex relationships, never mind marriage, is just plain odd.”

The Scottish Tories said the SNP had made the right decision and Mr Walker should “examine his conscience on whether he thinks it’s right to continue taking thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money for the next four years.

“The honourable thing would be for him to step down from his role as a member of the Scottish Parliament.”

Mr Walker said of his return to parliament this week: “I’ll sit in my regular seat in the chamber, as well as going to my office on the SNP floor.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Mr Walker has been informed that as he has been expelled by the SNP, he cannot sit on the SNP’s benches.”

He told the BBC today he had “never assaulted anyone as claimed in various reports, and not a single allegation made against me has ever been tested in court”. He also said he believed he was the victim of an “orchestrated smear campaign”, but would continue to serve his constituency.