Wolds Weighton councillor ordered to publicly apologise to town mayor over ‘Nazi’ email

An East Riding councillor has been ordered to publicly apologise to Market Weighton’s mayor over an email asking him if his ancestors were “Nazis”.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:28 pm
Wolds Weighton ward councillor David Rudd.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Standards Committee ruled Conservative Cllr David Rudd, of Wolds Weighton ward, broke the authority’s Code of Conduct when he sent the email to Mayor Peter Hemmerman.

The committee found the councillor broke rules in the Code requiring members to treat others with respect but cleared him of bringing his role or the authority into disrepute.

Cllr Rudd told the committee he wished he had not sent the email and that he sent an apology to Mayor Hemmerman days after his original comments in June 2020.

But he also told councillors he sent it as a “private individual” and claimed the mayor had never shown him respect in more than a decade of knowing each other.

The committee ruled Cllr Rudd would be censured for the email and would be required to apologise at an upcoming public meeting of Market Weighton Town Council.

Cllr Rudd told the committee he had reached the “end of my tether” when he sent the email to Mayor Hemmerman after a “few glasses of red wine”.

The committee heard he wrote: “Dear Peter, I write as a member of the public to ask if any o your ancestors were members of the Nazi Party?

“A simple question but will I receive a simple answer I wonder?”

Cllr Rudd said he apologised to Mayor Hemmerman after being advised by his local Conservative association which suspended him for a total of six months after the email emerged.

He added he believed attention being paid to antisemitism allegations in Labour meant his party had no choice but to suspend him at the time if it suspected racism.

The councillor said he wanted to give the mayor a “taste of his own medicine” while the committee heard the pair had been on bad terms for years.

But he added he “could not accept” that he breached council standards rules.

Cllr Rudd said: “The email was sent from one private person to another, we all have our private lives and private time everyday, surely?

“Cllr Hemmerman has tried to belittle me in front of people previously, he shouted and balled and screamed at me at a meeting in Pocklington.

“It was around the time he was up for election as mayor and I thought someone else should have been put forward.

“I’d had a few glasses of red wine which I think persuaded me to send the email, it was a cheeky question and I suppose it could be construed as rude.

“But I wanted to tell him what I thought of him because I think he runs the town council like a dictator.

“I’m not a racist, my mother was Armenian and I’m a member of the Christian church, I get along with everyone and I treat everyone equally.

“I wouldn’t send the email again, I wouldn’t send something like that to anyone.”

Article by Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)