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.