Councillor is censured for ‘bigots’ rant

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AN East Riding councillor has been censured for referring to residents who were against a large advertising poster being put up in Market Weighton as “bigots”.

Wolds Weighton Conservative councillor David Rudd made the comment after a number of residents expressed their concern about the planning application for the seven-metre poster, which developer David Wilson Homes wanted to place along a fence on Glenfield Avenue.

As reported in the Post on 21 April last year, Coun Rudd said: “This application will be viewed on planning issues and determined as such, after careful consideration of all legitimate planning reasons from local residents and not from certain bigots who cannot accept that this area has been designated for development for more years than most of them have lived in the area”.

At an East Riding Council standards committee hearing last week, members agreed with the monitoring officer’s recommendations that Coun Rudd’s comment breached the local authority’s Code of Conduct for not treating others with respect. They decided he had not brought his office or authority into disrepute.

As a result of this, Coun Rudd has been censured, which is effectively a verbal slap on the wrist.

In the monitoring officer’s report, it states: “Councillor Rudd used offensive language in an email sent in an official capacity to a town councillor and to a local journalist.

“However, it is arguable whether this behaviour is of a type which could reasonably be regarded as damaging the reputation of the member’s office or authority”.

According to the report, the complainant, a Mr Edward Johnson, felt there was no justification in Coun Rudd calling the residents who disagreed with the planning application “bigots”.

Mr Johnson questioned whether the term also applied to him because he supported the residents who disagreed with the planning application.

The report also says that in his interview with the investigating officer on 22 June last year, Coun Rudd stated that “he accepted that he used the wrong word” and was “frustrated with the [planning] situation as he thought it was ridiculous”.