BASILDON Labour chief Gavin Callaghan has been slammed for making “homophobic remarks” after suggesting a "cross-dresser" could not be a role model for crime -fighting.

The former council leader was rebuked by mayor David Dadds for comments about ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, now President Donald Trump’s lawyer.

His intervention came during a speech by current council leader Andrew Baggott about crime and Mr Giuliani’s famous ‘broken windows’ approach.

Mr Callaghan was heard making comments off mic, forcing Mr Dadds to intervene.

He told him: “Councillor Callaghan, you’ve just made a remark about a member of the public, I know they’re not in this room but it doesn’t matter.

“If it’s a member of the public I don’t think you should be making that remark.”

Mr Callaghan replied: “It’s a well-known fact Mr Mayor- Mayor Giuliani’s a cross-dresser.”

Mr Dadds replied: “I don’t want you to be shouting over…can you put on the speaker please and say it.”

Mr Callaghan then spoke into the microphone for the record, saying: “I’ve just said it.

“I’ve just remarked that Mayor Giuliani’s not exactly the inspiration we look for because he’s a cross-dresser.”

Mr Dadds replied: “Well Councillor Callaghan, you saying that across the council chamber three times on public record breaches the code of conduct.”

Read more: Councillor apologises for 'homophobic' remarks at meeting

The broken windows theory suggests that all crime, no matter how minor, should be dealt with in order to create an environment of lawfulness.

It was popularised by Mr Giuliani, now 74, in the 1990s.

He has been married to three women and has two children, although he once dressed in drag for a comedy skit featuring Donald Trump.

Mr Giuliani has also been hailed as a champion of gay rights.

Mr Baggott responded to Mr Callaghan’s comments by saying: “I just hope that councillor [David] Burton-Sampson is as shocked and saddened at his leader as I am, as a champion of the LGBT community to have these sort of homophobic remarks from the leader of his group about cross-dressing as if somebody- if they are a cross-dresser- is unable to actually govern or have ideas is shameful.”

The row stemmed from comments Mr Baggott had made about crime.

He told the Basildon Council meeting on Thursday about talking to the police and other groups about drug dealing.

He said: “We are supporting the police, we are looking at the national issues that are being addressed across Essex county of county lines, and as councillor Barnes so eloquently said before, we are putting into place real action that can help us to address real issues.

“When you have 12-year-olds selling drugs on street corners, that is unacceptable in our communities in this day and age.

"I’ve done a number of ‘meet the leader’ events around the borough, and each of those are talking about the broken windows theory and mayor Giuliani’s approach to actually dealing with the issues he faced when he was mayor of New York.

“And when you speak to the public, they get that. And what we’re doing with the pride teams is addressing that particular issue.”

Mr Callaghan has since apologised for his comments on his Twitter feed, calling his choice of words "inconsiderate". Read more here.