Under-fire councillor repeats controversial gay foster parent views in bizarre meeting

UNDER-fire councillor Brian Cutts repeated his controversial views on gay foster parents during a bizarre meeting at Rotherham Town Hall.

Members voted in favour of removing the UKIP member from South Yorkshire’s police and crime panel after a debate on Wednesday.

Before speaking, Cllr Cutts wandered across the council chamber from his seat to look at rainbow lanyards being worn by Labour members in support of LGBT foster and adoption.

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The Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Alan Buckley, who was chairing the meeting, said: “This is highly irregular. This must be a first.”

After being handed a lanyard by council leader Cllr Chris Read, Cllr Cutts returned to his seat and held up a Bible as if testifying in court.

Repeating his views - revealed by the Advertiser in September - Cllr Cutts said: “I can’t see how anybody can father a child to two men.

“It’s my preference that a child needs the love of a mother. The ideal is for there to be both male and female. The balance is extremely important.”

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Cllr Cutts had made comments disagreeing with RMBC placing children with gay foster parents at a members’ seminar held in private in March. The standards and ethics sub-committee ruled he had used homophobic language and recommended his removal from the police panel. 

“I really wanted to be angry and I’m not,” said Cllr Read at this week’s meeting. 

“This is just sad that in 2018 we’re having a discussion about whether homosexuality is okay and whether one of our members treated people with respect.

“It’s evident to me that he cannot be a right person to represent this authority on any outside body.”

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Labour’s Cllr Taiba Yasseen added: “At the heart of this is a lot of children in Rotherham who need decent, loving, caring homes.

“We spent a lot of time encouraging people from all backgrounds to come forward because we would like them to foster.”

UKIP members distanced themselves from Cllr Cutts’ views but backed his right to speak freely.

Cllr Rob Elliott said: “I’ve disagreed with him on many occasions but we have a healthy discussion. 

“I’ve never heard him use derogatory or abusive language.”

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Group leader Cllr Allen Cowles said he reluctantly accepted the sub-committee recommendation but drew a comparison with Labour’s Cllr Bob Bird, who was found to have breached the code of conduct in January over “highly offensive” remarks about an LGBT fetish club in Parkgate.

Cllr Cowles added: “I’ve heard the leader call for more debate. Let’s have more debate and not always be running off to standards and ethics to punish people because they have a different view from your own.”

The council later voted in favour of a motion backing equality among foster parents and Cllr Cutts - now wearing his rainbow lanyard - backed the move.

Meanwhile, UKIP chose Cllr Peter Short to replace him on the police panel.

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