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Gay Tory group welcomes suspension of councillor

Jessica Geen March 30, 2010
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Gay Conservative Party group LGBTory has welcomed the suspension of a Tory councillor who made a remark about “limpwristed boys”.

LGBTory chairman Matthew Sephton said that the suspension of Denis Knowles was the “appropriate and right thing to do”.

Mr Knowles, a councillor for Seabourne, was suspended today by Wirral borough council’s Conservative group for posting a comment on his Facebook profile.

He made the remark on Sunday about gay Labour activists who were campaigning for local MP Angela Eagle, saying: …an unusual group of boys leafleting in Seacombe this weekend, of the limpwristed variety and definitely NOT local”.

After Ms Eagle accused him of homophobia and wrote to Tory leader David Cameron to demand action, Mr Knowles apologised on his Facebook account.

But he has now been suspended by local Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green.

Mr Green said an investigation would be held into the remarks.

He added: “The Conservative Party has changed and, by this swift action, we have demonstrated that change.”

Mr Sephton told “I was most disappointed to read Cllr Knowles’s words. Comments like these are totally inappropriate, whether they were said last year when Denis was a Labour councillor or this year now he’s a Conservative.”

“I do, however, welcome his public apology and am pleased that the Conservative group leader on Wirral borough council acted so quickly by suspending him. That is wholly appropriate and the right thing to do.”

Mr Knowles used to be a Labour councillor. But last May, he dramatically quit the party to join the local Conservatives. He said that Labour had made mistakes and was dividing, rather than uniting people.

Local newspaper reports from the time state he was a “senior aide” to Ms Eagle, who is parliament’s only out lesbian. Her office has refuted this.

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