Po­lice probe coun­cil­lor’s ‘ anti- Mus­lim’ retweets

Lo­cal Con­ser­va­tive politi­cian al­ready sus­pended by party

Solihull News - - NEWS - ANDY RICHARD­SON andy. richard­son@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

A SOLI­HULL coun­cil­lor who retweeted a slew of in­flam­ma­tory anti- Mus­lim rants is now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice over al­le­ga­tions of hate crime.

West Mid­lands Po­lice have con­firmed they have re­ceived a com­plaint fol­low­ing retweets on Twit­ter made by Soli­hull Bor­ough coun­cil­lor Jeff Potts.

He had al­ready been sus­pended by his own Con­ser­va­tive group.

He re- tweeted 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’.

All the con­tro­ver­sial com­ments have now been deleted.

Omar Khan, from Kings Heath, who works with or­gan­i­sa­tion MEND, which tries en­cour­age Bri­tish Mus­lims within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to be more ac­tively in­volved in pol­i­tics, made the com­plaint and will be in­ter­viewed by of­fi­cers this week. He also or­gan­ised an on­line pe­ti­tion call­ing for the coun­cil­lor to re­sign.

He said: “His com­ments only fur­ther di­vide the tight- knit Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull commu- nity. I or­gan­ised the pe­ti­tion be­cause al­though I re­spect free­dom of speech, I think an elected of­fi­cial should re­main im­par­tial to those he rep­re­sents and not try to di­vide the com­mu­nity.

“Rather he should try to unit and find a com­mon ground.

“I would like to in­vite Jeff Potts to come and learn about us more.”

For­merly a mem­ber of the Labour Party, Coun Potts, who rep­re­sents the leafy ward of Knowle, has been on the Soli- hull au­thor­ity since May, 2012. He is vice chair­man of the coun­cil plan­ning com­mit­tee and also sits on the li­cens­ing com­mit­tee, air­port work­ing party and safer Soli­hull board.

He has an ex­em­plary at­ten­dance record of 86 per cent.

Coun Potts said he did not wish to com­ment.

At the time he was sus­pended by the Con­ser­va­tive Group he said: “I have no com­ment on that at all.

“My pub­lic page states I don’t en­dorse retweets.”

That means he does not sup­port the views stated.

Cllr Potts did, how­ever, ex­plain that the tweets were briefly dis­played as a mat­ter of free­dom speech. He said he “cer­tainly did not” agree with those views.

A West Mid­lan­nds Po­lice spokes­woman said: “We can con­firm that Soli­hull Po­lice have re­ceived an al­le­ga­tion of hate crime.

“An ap­point­ment has been made with the com­plainant and en­quiries are on- go­ing.”

One of the mes­sages retweeted by Soli­hull Con­ser­va­tive Coun­cil­lor Jeff Potts which has caused con­tro­versy

Coun­cil­lor Jeff Potts

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