Cllr Joe Norris calls for Tory resignation over LGBTQ+ comments

27 Oct 2023

Lib Dems call for Rushden Council leader to resign in homophobia scandal. 


Rushden Lib Dem Councillor Joe Norris (Liberal Democrat, Hayden Central) has called on Cllr. Richard Lewis (Conservative, Hayden), Leader of Rushden Town Council, to apologise after saying that he would ban the Rushden LGBT+ community from hiring council facilities for events.


At the Community Services Committee on 6th June 2023, Cllr. Lewis proposed that the Council open up Hall Park for the use of community groups. He then paused to add that he would "draw the line" at "gay pride", before demanding that these words not be minuted. 


A code of conduct complaint was made on 29th June, but almost 4 months later, no response is known to have been received from Cllr. Lewis. This follows separate reports that fellow town councillor King Lawal (Conservative, Bates) is due to apologise for his own well publicised anti-gay remarks.


In response, Cllr Joe Norris said: "This is an incredibly offensive remark for anyone to make, let alone the Leader of the Council in a public Council meeting. The Rushden Conservatives have made an anti-LGBTQ+ reputation for themselves this year with these intolerable statements, which tarnishes the name of our town.


"These comments are not only incredibly inappropriate, but they leave the Council liable to legal action on the basis of discrimination.


"Our town deserves better from its elected representatives.


"After nearly four months of silence it is high time for Council Leader Lewis to apologise for this thoughtless insult and do the right thing by resigning as leader of the Council.".

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