EXCLUSIVE: Barking and Dagenham residents plan protest at councillor’s lesbian insult
A group of residents in Barking and Dagenham have expressed their anger at Labour Councillor Liam Smith, who they claim used a homophobic comment during a by-election.
Senior councillor Smith reportedly said to a political rival’s mother “shut up you f***ing fat dyke” during the count at Chadwell Heath by-election last month.
The comment was directed at Sue Connelly, a straight grandmother of eight and the mother of local Tory councillor Neil Connelly.
Mr Smith has been cautioned by police, and was ordered to write Mrs Connelly an apology.
Dee McIlroy, who stood as an Independent candidate at the by-election, was present at the count and heard Mr Smith’s insult.
Ms McIlroy told PinkNews.co.uk that she was greatly angered by the comment.
“All [Mrs Smith] said was ‘alright Liam, that’s 4-0,”‘ Ms McIlroy said, “and he responded with a clearly homophobic comment.
“She was only making a joke to him! It was unnecessary and irrelevant.
“That word should not be used as an insult, and he is setting a bad example to his constituents.”
Ms McIlroy said that the lesbian community in Barking and Dagenham are upset by Mr Smith’s comments and will stage a protest against him, hoping that he will stand down.
Shayleigh Dias, a gay friend of Ms McIlroy, told PinkNews.co.uk:
“[Liam Smith’s] behaviour was shocking, especially for someone with such a big say in local politics. I am disgusted.
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“It is exactly the same as racism.
“If I were to use an abusive racist term, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been treated so lightly.
“Clearly, it’s one rule for some and another for others.
“You’d think these days that people would not behave like this, especially someone with such influence over other peoples’ lives.
“We will definitely protest to get rid of him. His behaviour was totally unacceptable.”
Ms McIlroy, Ms Dias and others who oppose Mr Smith’s place in the council will stage a protest at Barking Town Hall on 3rd September, at the first Council Assembly meeting after the summer break.