UKIP leader stands by councillor in wake of homophobic comments

By Gareth Dennison | 28/09/2018

UKIP leader stands by councillor in wake of homophobic comments
Cllr Brain Cutts

UKIP’S group leader stood by Cllr Brian Cutts in the wake of his comments about gay foster parents.

Cllr Cutts was found in breach of the council code of conduct for suggesting same-sex couples should not foster or adopt children.

LGBT groups Rotherham Pride and The Rainbow Project called for the Hellaby ward member to resign his seat.

And Rotherham Borough Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “These were bizarre and homophobic comments which should have no place in public life in 2018.

“Sadly these comments were not an isolated incident. In 2014 Cllr Cutts tried to win support by falsely claiming the council had funded gay pride events to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

“In a meeting in 2016, he falsely claimed the council had replaced the national flag with the rainbow flag.”

Cllr Read welcomed the standards committee recommendation that Cllr Cutts be removed from South Yorkshire’s police and crime panel and RMBC’s Improving Places Select Commission.

The Labour group leader added: “How on earth could UKIP think someone who has expressed such divisive views was the right person to ensure that the police are serving all our communities well?”

But Cllr Alen Cowles said he was keen for his party member to retain both panel posts.

He added: “What Brian has said is not UKIP policy, nor is it my policy. He expressed his view that children are better brought up in a standard family and a few pious hypocrites have stepped in.

“This was at a pre-meeting, in private, and there’s no actual evidence or minutes, just the word of a few Labour people.”

He added: “There’s unusually high demand nationally for support and care for children but in Rotherham a fair amount of demand is attributable to the CSE escapade Labour presided over.

“Cllr Read has no need to lecture me when he takes no action over his own people. Some were declared unfit for purpose after the CSE scandal, but they’re still here, they’ve had a bit of training and have been kept on.

“The whole party has been mired in the anti-semitism argument all through the summer, too.”

Cllr Cowles also said the Labour group had facilitated then-Cllr Andrew Roddison to sneak into a meeting unnoticed to continue claiming his allowance while awaiting a 2016 trial which found him guilty of a sex assault.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was appalled by Cllr Cutts’ comments. She added: “These attitudes have no place in our society, particularly coming from an elected councillor. I have previously raised concerns at the lack of appropriate enforcement measures for council codes of conduct, but the Government have taken the view that existing powers are sufficient. Elected officials should be held to the highest possible standard and I will continue to call for the government to rethink its position.”

The statement from Pride and Rainbow said: “We call upon Cllr Cutts to recognise that he is unfit to hold public office, due to his expressed extremist views, which extend to advocating for the council to breach the Equality Act by refusing to allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster children.”

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