Calls for council leader to apologise over ‘abhorrent’ comments by disgraced Brexit Party councillor
Labour councillors called for an apology from the council leader following offensive comments made by a former Brexit Party councillor to an undercover Channel 4 News reporter.
Coun Shane Moore, council leader and Brexit Party representative, said the comments from the former councillor were ‘abhorrent’ but said it would ‘not be correct’ to apologise on his behalf.
David Mincher, previously Manor House ward councillor, resigned after it emerged he had been caught on camera making a series of highly offensive comments to an undercover reporter.
These included claiming to have tried to bury a pig’s head underneath Hartlepool’s Nasir mosque when it was being built, and he also said Muslim people were ‘outbreeding us’ and ‘live like animals’.
Mr Mincher has since been expelled by the Brexit Party.
The issue was raised at the latest full Hartlepool Borough Council meeting, when chief executive Gill Alexander stated the seat will be left vacant until the scheduled all-out elections in May, in accordance with the six month vacancy rules.
At the meeting Labour’s Coun Jim Lindridge hit out at the comments made to the reporter and called for an apology from Coun Moore.
Coun Lindridge said: “I’m absolutely astounded by the abhorrent behaviour of the ex-councillor and the homophobic and racist remarks shown on the Channel 4 documentary.
“I would like an apology from the Brexit leader as he is responsible for his own members.”
Coun Moore said he would have thought Coun Lindridge would have known he found the comments made ‘abhorrent’ also and added he removed the whip from Mr Mincher within ‘one hour’ of being notified of the incident.
He said: “Whether I personally need to make an apology, I don’t think I do, I haven’t said anything wrong, I do not share those views, and for me to apologise on behalf of somebody else would not be correct.
“I think what is correct is I stand here and I say both as myself and as leader of the council, and I think everybody in this room will share my view, that what was highlighted in that report was abhorrent, we do not share those views and we will not tolerate it.
“Which is why, as leader of the Brexit group, we removed that member as soon as possible, we acted correctly.”
Coun Moore also explained why following the report he conducted a visit to the Nasir Mosque in the town, which Labour councillors had called a ‘damage limitation PR exercise using council taxpayers’ money’.
He said: “The role of the leader of the council is to be the council’s principal spokesperson and I acted in defence of this council.
“We have a good friendly relationship and I enjoy going there regularly.
“Once I found out what happened, I contacted the Imam over at the mosque, gave him my apologies for what was about to go out, and assured him in no way shape or form were those views shared by myself or other members of this council.
“It is my job and my responsibility to act and speak on behalf of this council, every single one of us, so that’s exactly what I did.”