Former Mayor censured over racist joke share

Coun. Rosemary Carroll
Coun. Rosemary Carroll

The former Mayor of Pendle has been found guilty of breaching the members code of conduct by sharing a racist and offensive joke on social media.

A special meeting of Pendle Council's Hearings Panel on Monday found that Tory Earby Coun. Rosemary Carroll reprimanded last year's Mayor following complaints that she had an offensive joke on her personal Facebook page comparing black people and benefit claimants to dogs.

The panel has now banned Coun. Carroll from sitting on any committees, other than area committees, for 12 months. She must also attend training on the use of social media.

The report from the Monitoring Officer Philip Mousdale concluded: "I consider the post to be derogatory and insulting to benefit claimants, and also racist.

"My finding is that there is sufficient evidence of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct."

The Pendle Conservative Group had earlier yesterday suspended Coun. Carroll from the party for three months.

Labour Coun. Wayne Blackburn, who had reported Coun. Carroll, said: "I am grateful to the panel for reaching a conclusion which reflects the anger expressed to me by many residents from across Pendle.

"However, I am disappointed in the sanctions placed and do not believe they go far enough. It continues to be a cause of concern that here we have a senior member of the Conservative party in Pendle being found guilty of racism and her party continue to try and brush it under the carpet."

His views were echoed by Pendle Labour leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal who accused the local Conservative group of "hijacking" the panel's findings.

He said: "I am extremely disappointed at the so-called investigation by the Conservative Party whose sanction was to send Coun. Carroll on a diversity training course!

"It is the case that the report from the Monitoring Officer was shared with the leader of the Conservative group, Joe Cooney, over a week ago and he and his party have chosen to hijack the panel hearing by announcing a slap on the wrists for Coun. Carroll.

"This demonstrates that the Tory party are not honest in terms of condemning racist behaviour from one of their own councillors. I once again ask Andrew Stephenson MP and Coun. Cooney to take steps to expel Coun. Carroll if they are genuine.

"I have today sent a letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May asking for her intervention as it's clear her party in Pendle has serious issues in dealing with this matter."

The chairman of Pendle Conservatives, Coun. Pauline McCormick, had earlier revealed that following a meeting on the Association Executive, made up of members from across Pendle, Rosemary Carroll had been suspended from the Conservative Party for a minimum period of three months.

Coun. McCormick said: “While the original post wasn’t directly from Rosemary Carroll, the content was abusive, insulting and racist.

"As an association we will not tolerate anything that brings the party into disrepute. It is therefore the decision of the Executive that Rosemary Carroll be suspended from the Conservative Party for a period of three months starting from August 4th up to and including November 4th.

"Before admittance back into the party, Rosemary Carroll will be required to undergo and pass diversity training as agreed by the association chairman.”