Labour councillor cautioned following gay insult
The deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham council has been cautioned by police after using homophobic language.
Senior Labour councillor Liam Smith is said to have said to a political rival’s mother ‘shut up you f***ing fat dyke’ and ‘go back to the farmyard’, reports the Evening Standard.
Sue Connelly, mother of local Tory councillor Neil Connely, became involved in a row with Mr. Smith at the by-election count last month.
Mr. Smith is said to have lost his temper as the Conservatives won a seat at in the Chadwell Heath ward on 3rd July.
Mrs Connelly said Mr Smith’s insult came after she joked with him about Labour’s failure after the Conservatives won a second seat on the council at a by-election last month, according to 24News.com.
Mrs. Connelly, who is straight, told the Evening Standard,
‘I was so stunned that I didn’t know what to say in reply.
‘To be spoken to like that in the council chamber in front of so many people was awful. I felt humiliated.
‘I am not a lesbian but I have nothing against them and that word should not be used to insult anyone.
‘It was vicious, nasty and homophobic. He should step down or be told to go.’
Mr. Smith was cautioned by police after the matter was investigated as a hate crime.
He was ordered write a letter of apology to Mrs. Connelly.
Mrs. Connelly, however, told 24News.com that this apology was ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’.
‘If he wanted to apologise he would have apologised the following day.
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‘This was only because the police said if he didn’t sign the caution he would go to court.’
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said: ‘This was a totally inappropriate way for the deputy leader of a council to behave in public.
‘To insult a woman of Mrs Connelly’s age, a grandmother, like that was outrageous.
‘Mrs Connelly is a nice woman who is very popular locally and she did not deserve this.
‘It is bizarre that an elected representative from a party that professes to be tolerant of people whatever their lifestyle should use language like that.’
Mr Smith remains the deputy leader. He declined to comment on the row.