Last week, the Tories reinstated councillor Rosemary Carroll, suspended after the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed she had shared a vile racist ‘joke’ on Facebook, in order to gain control of Pendle council and put a better gloss on its local election results.
Ms Carroll was reinstated on the spot when the Tories realised that without her in the party Pendle would be a hung council and they could seize control.
The move caused considerable outrage, with Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promoting a petition on his Twitter account to expel Ms Carroll from the Conservative party.
The excuse of Tory chair Brandon Lewis for the decision was that Ms Carroll had completed awareness training and had only meant to delete the post instead of sharing it – a claim also made by Ms Carroll herself to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph the day after her suspension following the SKWAWKBOX exclusive.
Once again, the Tories are pushing information as true that has already been discredited.
In August last year, the issue of the ‘joke’ was investigated as a potential breach of Pendle councillors’ code of conduct by the council’s politically-neutral Monitoring Officer, Philip Mousdale.
Mousdale’s report made stark reading – and dismissed the claim that it was shared accidentally:
The report also mentions that:
sharing a post requires two clicks it requires some conscious effort and is not likely to be done accidentally.
Many people are calling for Ms Carroll’s immediate and permanent expulsion – including almost six thousand people so far who have signed the petition for her to be expelled if she will not resign.
But the even greater shame is on the Tory party, which was cynically – and without apparent hesitation, since it was done almost immediately the Pendle ‘no overall control’ result was declared – prepared to reinstate a councillor suspended for a vile racist joke in order to control a council and gain a propaganda point.
Albeit one that has hugely backfired.
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