ROTHERHAM’S Brexit Party group leader has vowed to write to the home secretary after Labour councillors refused to reinstate to the local police and crime panel a councillor removed over homophobic comments.
Cllr Allen Cowles believes Cllr Brian Cutts’ comments were not improper and said he should have the right to freedom of speech.
Cllr Cutts was removed from the South Yorkshire policing panel last September following a recommendation by the standards committee.
He was found to be in breach of the council’s code of conduct for suggesting same-sex couples should not foster or adopt children during a private members’ seminar ahead of a public session of the authority’s improving lives select commission.
Cllr Cowles told Labour councillors at a full council meeting on Wednesday: “You are quick to condemn Cllr Cutts but refuse to condemn many in your own party for their anti-Semitic remarks.
“And Let me remind you that he is an elected member and has a right to represent his constituents on committees and is their job to remove him if they wish.”
He added that there were also doubts over what was said and when.
Cllr Cutts was asked to refrain from speaking after several outbursts, in one of which he said: “I was set up and people in this chamber know I was set up.”
Cllr Cowles said it was the last time he would address the matter in the council chamber, saying he would go directly to the home secretary to make a decision.
“If further dirty linen is laundered, so be it — you are the one dragging Rotherham into this situation not me,” said Cllr Cowles.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said he was “astonished” Cllr Cowles was set on approaching the home secretary and could not believe the Rotherham Brexit Party group wanted to address the matter, escalating Rotherham onto a national stage.
“We have approached members of the LGBT community about Cllr Cutts,” Cllr Read added. “Out of the 350 we asked, they all said he was the wrong person to do this job.”
Cllr Read stressed there was “no issue” with another Brexit Party member sitting on the PCC panel and voted in favour of Cllr Cowles taking the remaining vacant seat because he said Cllr Cowles was passionate about the issues.
Cllr Cowles said all other Brexit Party member would refuse to sit on the panel in their bid for Cllr Cutts’ reinstatement.