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Councillor faces rap over ‘offensive’ e-mail gaffe
A TORY councillor felt he had e-mailed a “jolly good joke” to all his council colleagues – but he now faces disciplinary action over claims it was racist and sexist.
Chris Walker, who represents Eastwood Park ward, has caused quite a storm among his peers over the pictures of naked women with anti-Islamic text.
The e-mail said Islamic men would have to commit suicide if they saw a woman, other than their wife, naked, and that all British women should walk the streets naked on Sunday afternoons to weed out terrorists.
It was accompanied by a number of pictures of naked women, and ended with the words Land of Hope and Glory and a picture of the Union Flag.
Funeral director Mr Walker, who is known in the council for his forthright comments, said: “I sent it in good faith, because it just seemed a jolly good joke to me.
“When it didn’t to others, then I immediately sent out an apology. Looking back on it, I would say it was a joke. I don’t think I would do it again and that‘s the end of the story.”
Southend council leader Nigel Holdcroft has asked the Tory chief whip on the council, Derek Jarvis, to instigate disciplinary proceedings.
He said: “It was totally inappropriate for any member of the Conservative group to have sent out an e-mail of this sort to other councillors.
“As soon as I saw it, I was in contact with Chris Walker to make sure he sent out an apology.”
Opposition leaders on the council were united in their condemnation of the e-mail.
Lib Dem group leader Graham Longley said: “It would appear to be an inappropriate use of council e-mail.”
Independent group leader Martin Terry said: “I think it is disgusting any member of the council should have sent out this type of e-mail to all colleagues.
“It is most sexist and racist, and very unhelpful in the current times.”
Labour group chief David Norman said his colleagues in the Labour group viewed the e-mail with “great concern”.
He added: “I was particularly concerned with the underlying religious discrimination which it contained, and feel this is a matter which should be further investigated by the whole council.”