PLANS to remove Mr and Mrs and man and woman from council titles have been “called in”.

Independent councillor Stephen Aylen has asked Southend Council to think again about changing titles.

He also wants the council to withdraw its support for the white ribbon campaign, which aims to get men to stand up against male on female violence.

It comes after several of his colleagues backed gender neutral language - such as changing chairman to chair - and the campaign to combat domestic violence.

Councillor Aylen said: “Referring to the Mayor as just Mayor instead of ‘Mr mayor’ or ‘madam mayor’ is just rude. You don’t have to have gender neutral terms when it comes to the Mayor or a chairman – chairman is not referring to men or women, it is referring to a title, gender should not affect it.”

He explained that he is in support of some changes, but called on councillors to “take a step back and ask will it work” claiming it was a “slippery slope” where councillors placed on committees are selected by their gender rather than experience or knowledge.

He said: “We are in the 2000s, not the 1800s, I understand that, and this is an issue that has been hanging around for ages and needs to be looked at.”

His objection to the white ribbon campaign is it should be about stopping violence against all genders.

Labour councillor Matt Dent, who proposed both motions, said: “We should call people what they want to be called. My colleague councillor Helen McDonald for example is the chair of the licensing committee, but she does not want to be called chairman because she is not a man.

“This is about having standard terminology, like chair, where you are not bringing up gender as it doesn’t need to be brought into it.”

He added that he believes that if a female committee chair wanted to be called chairman or a female mayor wanted to be addressed as “madam mayor” then that would also be acceptable.

Regarding the white ribbon campaign he said it is centred on campaigning for women because it is a “specific campaign” aimed at encouraging men to stand up to violence perpetrated by men against women. He said that if Mr Aylen were to table a motion that was to campaign against violence against men he would be in full support of it. White Ribbon day will be held on Monday.