Local elections 2018: The latest scandals and suspensions
Local councillors are the backbone of British democracy, working tirelessly within communities to hold local government to account. They’re also a source of scandal, social media storms and just old-fashioned offensive outbursts. Ahead of this week’s crucial local elections we compile a list of the latest suspensions to rock the regions.
Party: Liberal Democrats
Where: Sandhill, Sunderland Council
Who: Lynn Appleby
Accused of sharing a Facebook post likening immigration into the UK to “genocide” of the British people.
She also allegedly shared another post, suggesting that the parents of children who suffer in poverty should be told: “Don’t breed em if you can’t feed em.”
Where: Featherstone Town Council, Yorkshire
Who: Richard Taylor
Suspended for calling Theresa May and Esther McVey ‘foul b*****s’.
Asked by PoliticsHome if he stood by his slur against the Prime Minister, he said: “He said: "Well she is isn’t she? Let’s be fair, she’s the most vile thing that has ever walked on a pair of legs.”
Where: Sowerby Bridge, Calderdale Council
Who: Mike Payne
Suspended for retweeting an article in 2013 entitled ‘France Slashes Benefits to Muslim Parasites by 83%’ on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
It’s possible no one would have noticed, but he then defended it again in April this year, saying he was concerned about the issue as some of his family are French.
Where: Newsham, Blyth Town Council
Who: David Walls
Accused of anti-Semitism after sharing Facebook posts which said ‘trust the Jews, they're never skint' and describing asylum seekers as 'boat people'.
He later dismissed the claims against him as “PC nonsense gone mad”.
Where: Poynton, Cheshire East Council
Who: Howard Murray
Suspended while he was investigating two other suspended councillors.
The local authority said he stepped down over “concerns about his actions” in his role as chair of the Investigation and Disciplinary Committee.
Where: Carterton North West, West Oxfordshire District Council
Who: Peter Handley
Suspended for calling a colleague with osteoporosis a “cripple” after a council meeting.
He defended himself saying: “The word wasn’t meant in the sense of today.”
Where: Whitewell, Rossendale
Who: Pam Bromley
Accused of sharing anti-Semitic material on her Facebook page.
She later posted on Facebook: “This whole anti-Semitism witch-hunt is nothing more than: A - an attempt to censor and stifle debate about the atrocities being committed in Palestine, and B - de-stabilise Corbyn and the Labour Party, and in this particular instance, my credibility as an elected councillor of course.”
Not to be outdone, the candidates are at it as well…
Where: Cradley and Wallescote, Dudley Council
Who: Kamran Razzaq
Suspended for distributing an election leaflet that accused the local Labour party of spreading hepatitis – yes, really.
The Tory staffer, Christian Calgie, who reluctantly outed Mr Razzaq on social media, said: “The reason I share it is that often in politics, embarrassment is one surefire way to get a party to act.”
Where: Tudor, Watford Council
Who: Darren Harrison
Suspended over alleged links to far-right groups.
At one rally he is said to have attended, leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson, told an audience in London’s Hyde park: “People of the UK, you are being replaced… by massive Muslim immigration.”