Coun­cil­lor is cen­sured for ‘ho­mo­pho­bic’ com­ment

Western Mail - - NEWS -

A PLAID Cymru coun­cil­lor has been cen­sured for a com­ment he made that was con­sid­ered ho­mo­pho­bic dur­ing a meet­ing in Septem­ber.

Nic Hodges, a mem­ber of Vale of Glamorgan Coun­cil, who is also the cur­rent mayor of Barry, was the sub­ject of a com­plaint by Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor Leighton Row­lands, who is gay.

The coun­cil’s stan­dards com­mit­tee heard that dur­ing a dis­cus­sion about di­ver­sity, an op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lor had re­ferred to com­ments by Mr Row­lands in a re­cent press ar­ti­cle, in which he had talked about progress on gay is­sues within the Con­ser­va­tive Party. There was an ex­change about the num­ber of gay MPs and AMs in the party and Mr Hodges was heard to say: “Are you ask­ing for vol­un­teers?” The de­ci­sion to cen­sure Mr Hodges has now been con­firmed on the coun­cil’s web­site.

Mr Row­lands said: “It was re­ally dis­heart­en­ing to hear a fel­low coun­cil­lor mak­ing such a dis­parag­ing com­ment, and I think the leader of Plaid Cymru should con­sider whether there is a place for re­marks of that na­ture in Plaid Cymru. It’s tough to open up about such a per­sonal as­pect of my life on such a pub­lic plat­form but I made the de­ci­sion to do so be­cause I thought we’d moved on from such ig­no­rance. It only goes to show the chal­lenges we still have in the LGBTQ com­mu­nity in 2017.

“I know that the great ma­jor­ity of Barry res­i­dents have a much more ac­cept­ing and pro­gres­sive at­ti­tude to­wards ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. It is a shame that an elected coun­cil­lor has failed to show that same re­spect.”

Mr Hodges did not wish to com­ment, but a Plaid spokes­woman said: “A com­plaint was made against Mr Hodges af­ter he chal­lenged a coun­cil­lor from an­other party who was mak­ing a mis­lead­ing state­ment to score po­lit­i­cal points. Some parts of the com­plaint were agreed, oth­ers were re­jected. The Vale Coun­cil has a policy for deal­ing with low-level com­plaints such as this which are not im­por­tant enough to be con­sid­ered by the Om­buds­man, and so the mat­ter is con­cluded.”

> Coun­cil­lor Nic Hodges

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