The language used at the July Council meeting by Labour Deputy Leader of the Council, councillor Robin Harris, was so disgusting it lead to a complaint to the Standards Board for England from the leaders of both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups of councillors. The Standards Board actually decides not to investigate most complaints but has now announced that this one is serious enough to justify an investigation.
“Councillor Harris called opposition members racists, accused them of condoning the holocaust, of being the kind of people who would stand by and watch concentration camps being built, of refusing to fight the fascist BNP. Opposition councillors were treated by councillor Harris to just about the most grave insult and slander you could possibly throw at anybody” said Liberal Democrat leader David Franks.
“The behaviour of councillor Robin Harris was so bad it seriously embarrassed even some of his own Labour colleagues.”
“One senior officer reminded me that similar language from an officer would have resulted in a dismissal for gross misconduct and asked why an elected member should be treated differently?”
“I am not playing party politics with this, I am no shrinking violet and do not easily take offence. However, in my 40 years in active politics in Luton no one has ever called me a racist. No one has ever offered me gross and personal insults like these and no one has any right to be surprised that my colleagues and I are deeply offended and hurt.”
“I am pleased this disgraceful incident is to be investigated because it will give encouragement to the majority of Luton Borough Councillors of all parties, to concerned Council officers and to independent members of the Standards committee all of whom are desperately seeking a way to improve behaviour.”