Coun­cil­lor: Com­plaints over ‘anti-im­mi­gra­tion’ retweets are ‘witch­hunt’ Town politi­cian re-posted mes­sage by ex-EDL leader

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Cath­rina Hulse Staff Re­porter

ASOLIHULL coun­cil­lor has been sus­pended by the Con­ser­va­tives after re-post­ing al­leged anti-im­mi­gra­tion and anti-Mus­lim com­ments on Twit­ter.

So­lil­hull coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Bas­sett, who sits on a re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee, is at the cen­tre of the con­tro­versy after al­legedly re-post­ing sev­eral posts on Twit­ter.

They in­cluded one from for­mer EDL leader Robinson and an­other tweet crit­i­cal of child refugees com­ing into Bri­tain.

The sus­pen­sion comes as all sides of Soli­hull Coun­cil voted in sup­port of a Green Party mo­tion reaf­firm­ing their com­mit­ment to “equal­ity, di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion” and pledg­ing “stand up against and speak out against any form of dis­crim­i­na­tion”.

But Cllr Bas­sett, a Con­ser­va­tive, de­fended the retweets, say­ing she wanted “to stim­u­late de­bate”.

“Some of these is­sues are so aw­ful that peo­ple ought to know that these is­sues are be­ing dis­cussed,” she said. “I do think it’s a po­lit­i­cal witch­hunt. I am not anti-Mus­lim, anti-Jewish or any­one else.”

A spokes­woman for Soli­hull Coun­cil said: “A com­plaint has been re­ceived about Coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Bas­sett and this has been passed on to the coun­cil’s Mon­i­tor­ing Of­fi­cer to be dealt with un­der the Code of Con­duct pro­ce­dure.”

It fol­lows the case of fel­low Soli­hull coun­cil­lor Jeff Potts, who rep­re­sents nearby Knowle, who is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by West Mid­lands Po­lice after al­legedly retweet­ing in­flam­ma­tory anti-Mus­lim posts. He has been sus­pended by his own Con­ser­va­tive group.

Last month there were calls for Cllr Potts to re­sign after he retweeted com­ments made by other in­di­vid­u­als such as: “De­port and repa­tri­ate all Mus­lims from the UK or watch ter­ror­ists kill in­no­cent peo­ple for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

He also retweeted: “You’ve clearly not ex­pe­ri­enced the Pak­istani hos­pi­tal­ity, hav­ing a daugh­ter raped by men who think she’s ‘white trash’.”

He was sus­pended by his own Con­ser­va­tive group after the con­tro­versy. The move means he can still at­tend meet­ings but as an in­de­pen­dent.

Soli­hull coun­cil­lor Ken Hawkins also sparked con­tro­versy in the sum­mer by retweet­ing a pho­to­graph of pro­test­ers call­ing for jus­tice over the Gren­fell fire tragedy, which left at least 80 dead. The for­mer mayor then added the cap­tion: “Let’s get our­selves a hangin!”

He later apol­o­gised.

> Soli­hull Coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Bas­sett

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