Thank you to everyone who gave us their support and advice over the last few weeks as Brexit Party councillors continued to try to appoint Cllr Brian Cutts to represent the borough on the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel. Hundreds of you added your voice to try to persuade Brexit Party councillors – who recently rebranded themselves from UKIP – to change their minds.
You told us:
“We need total representation without prejudice”
“Hate has no-place on the Police and Crime Panel. Cllr Cutts has shown his prejudice and that is fundamentally unacceptable in that job.”
“As a lesbian mother of two fine, well adjusted, happy, healthy 18 year olds… I am both disgusted and amused by the stupidity underlying Cutts’ homophobic views”
“As a gay mother I find his comments absolutely disgusting. My sexuality does not affect my parenting in any way shape or form.”
Sadly, they chose to ignore you.
Cllr Cutts was removed from the Panel last year after a Standards investigation found that he had made homophobic comments. In May, UKIP councillors tried to reappoint him, saying he has been “rehabilitated” and was now an appropriate person to represent the council. However, during the debate Cllr Cutts repeated that he still didn’t understand what he had done wrong, saying “I have not yet been given the answer why I was withdrawn in the first place.”
Labour councillors voted down his nomination.
Since then Brexit Party councillors have refused to budge. Last week they again tried to nominate Cllr Cutts.
Again, we voted down his nomination.
Instead, to ensure that Rotherham was fully represented, Labour councillors asked the Leader of the Brexit Party Group, Cllr Cowles, to take on the role. In a bizarre twist, he then voted against his own appointment.
And for those who might think that the Lib Dems would be reliable allies against homophobia, it was notable that the one Liberal Democrat councillor twice abstained from voting.
Brexit Party councillors are now appealing to the new Home Secretary to appoint Cllr Cutts against the will of the majority of councillors. We wait to see what intervention, if any, she will make.
You can watch the debate by clicking on the button below.