A leading Tory councillor has been suspended for nearly five months after a campaign led by Political Scrapbook. Following a meeting in February 2010 approving cuts of £65 million and 1,300 redundancies, the leader of the Conservative group on Hull City Council tweeted that anti-cuts protesters in the public gallery were “retards”.

Scrapbook later revealed that a number of people observing the meeting from the gallery had physical and learning disabilities. While the UK’s leading learning disability charity slammed the jibe as “completely unacceptable”, in a complaint to officials which ultimately led to the councillor’s suspension, mother Julie Corbett, wrote of her “shock” and “horror” at the remarks:

“One of my children has a severe learning disability and if I was aware that this word was used about her I would consider it a hate crime.”

The chair of the local government watchdog claimed that Fareham, who originally managed to cling onto his job with the support of now deposed council leader Carl Minns, claimed that the councillor may have broken equality laws:

 “The Committee concluded that Councillor Fareham may have caused the authority to breach equality enactments and had brought his office and the Council into disrepute.”

The committee determined a harsher punishment because he had only just completed diversity training after he called a Danish council worker a “foreigner” and said she has “lesbian hair” after she refused to make him a drink for him.

Perhaps five months without his council expenses will focus his mind.

  1. @Steve: I understand Fareham and Minns were/are drinking buddies, explaining the latter’s tepid condemnation of an incident which resulted in a 20-week suspension.

  2. So your article says support. Then you say it’s a tepid (lukewarm)condemnation there is a big difference between condemnation (however lukewarm) and support

  3. Also are they or we’re they drinking buddies? There are two different things do you know that or just making it up?

  4. You can’t beat the Tories when it comes to that certain air of savoir faire.

    I wonder what this jerk considers “real people” to be.

  5. What a shame that, today, the use of a WORD results in such an uproar, as with “other words” that frankly some weak minded people consider as being offensive…!

    Even a very recent football manager incident, where use of the word “female” (linesman) became an alleged term of abuse/equality/’feminist’ insult and required a massive inquiry …?

    An obsecenly highly paid football player recently’cried’ when somebody in the crowd allegedly “called him a racist name” …one of many similarly obscenely overpaid & “abused” players… errrm what about all those poor referee’s who are frequently ‘questioned’ by spectators, regarding their personal habits or even the fathers origin/existance then…?

    FGS what a pathetic weak willed spineless society we have become…get a life and deal with a few unchoice words in life perhaps and stop whinging…!

    BTW it seems OK for the lowlife of todays so called ‘society’ to F & Blind at full volume on ones High Street and the use the streets as a toilet… BUT DON’T you dare call someone a choice WORD…? get a life I say

  6. Got some issues there, Colin? It may just be a word to you, but when it is a word that you have been subjected to all your life and from lots of people, it becomes difficult to ignore. Politicians are meant to be LEADERS, which means they behave with sensitivity and respect to the whole of the community which they are serving through their public duty. It’s not difficult, they just don’t use words which others find offensive, particularly in public and when representing their office. Most of us manage it, why can’t they?

  7. From my brief reading of all this, it appears that there are those opposed to the cuts who think that there’s no need to cut or that the cuts are “too fast and too deep” which is a load of Balls (pun intended). Which caused a lot of vitriol to fly around, most directed at anyone trying to make progress in sorting out the mess.
    The you have the disciplinary hearing which he’s appealing as “Part of my appeal is based on the fact that evidence against me was heard in my absence and I was not given an opportunity to defend myself.” – if that is true then it goes against Natural Justice and smacks of political point scoring. If an employee was treated like that it would be constructive dismal and be automatically unfair.

  8. Martin Mather says:

    I doubt he’ll be really punished as the Tories are heaving with a brand of under-developed facists whose disregard for anyone less fortunate than themselves replicates the treatment of the Nazis & blackshirts in Germany so perfectly. The best thing we can all do about this is to ensure this facist scum is not re-voted into power as it’s patently evident that their presence in society reflects current society views. If they do return to power after such a collection of gaffs, then it’s up to the rest of us to leave the UK, or take up the knives & cudgels of revolution & butcher them all & their voters – unlikely. I’ll be leaving. China offers so much more for the future.

  9. I sympathise with him, if he was in council for 15 hours with disruption from the public gallery then he’s obviously going to get upset, and want some form of release. I’ve known teachers to say worse after only half-an-hour of disruption.

    I was considered special needs for years. I accept the word retard being used as an insult. What I dislike is it being used to describe people with disabilities. If you want to use the slightly outdated term then an individual is retarded, as are a group of people. None of them are retards.

    His abuse of a council worker did warrant being sent on a course (although surely a Dane is foreign?), but insulting members of the public is different. It should be for them to decide at the next election whether his behaviour has been appropriate. Despite my sympathies, I don’t think I’d be voting for him.

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