An Oban councillor in the running to stand at next year’s Holyrood election has received online support after revealing she was asked who would look after her children if she was elected.
Julie McKenzie, who is standing for selection as the SNP’s candidate for Argyll and Bute, said she responded to the party member by asking if they have ever posed the same question to a male candidate.
The SNP councillor, who represents the Oban North and Lorn ward, tweeted: “Question received from Argyll & Bute SNP member today.
“Julie I think you would be a great MSP, however I have to ask, if you get elected who will look after your kids?”
Ms McKenzie said: “My response…Thank you for your email. However, I have to ask, have you ever asked a male political candidate that question?!”
The selection contest has been prompted after Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell announced he is retiring next year.
Aside from Ms McKenzie, four women – Rhiannon Spear, Sarah Fanet, Jenni Minto and Breege Smyth – are in the running to become the candidate for the constituency.
The SNP councillor has been supported by politicians including SNP MP Amy Callaghan who said she had also been asked the question during the general election campaign last year, in the context of “future hypothetical children”.
During #GE2019, I was asked this too. I've haven't got children but was asked in the context of *future hypothetical children*
Long way to go. Clearly. https://t.co/GrW6PEJ34D
— Amy Callaghan MP (@AmyCallaghanSNP) October 18, 2020
SNP MP Alison Thewliss responded: “I got that in 2015 – I gave the same response.”
Alison Evison, President of COSLA and Aberdeenshire Labour councillor, said: “Not on. In any political party. Not on in other work contexts for that matter.”
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, tweeted: “So sorry. I remember being asked similar when I was a councillor, and hearing colleagues (from all parties) passing comment on politicians who happened to be mothers. 2020 is bad enough without this boring patter.”
Support was also forthcoming from Mental Health Minister, Claire Haughey, who said: “A question I’d bet is never asked of a father.”