Comedian blasts city councillor’s Essex ‘slur’

NO LAUGHING Russell Kane
NO LAUGHING Russell Kane

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A COMEDIAN from Essex has criticised a Portsmouth City Councillor for saying that people from the county sold tat at car boot sales.

Russell Kane picked up on comments made by Cllr Lee Hunt, who called for car boot sales in Southsea to be banned and said: ‘At the moment you get people driving from Essex, selling old things from the back of a Transit and driving home. They don’t contribute anything to the city.’

Mr Kane from Southend, who won the Edinburgh Comedy Award last year, responded: ‘This guy has probably never left Portsmouth.

‘This is stereotyping of the lowest common denominator.

‘Essex is great because people here are down-to-earth and working-class in spirit, but also have material wealth. So it’s the best of both worlds.

‘Also, the people of Portsmouth need their car boot sales with Essex people coming in to do them.’

Cllr Hunt, who is responsible for culture and leisure, also drew fire from former Essex County Council chairman Elizabeth Hart, who campaigns against stereotyping of the county.

She said: ‘This councillor ought to get a life.’

In response, Cllr Hunt, 51, said: ‘Essex is a great place, of course, and Portsmouth welcomes everyone, whether they come from Essex or Timbuktu.’

He said he only mentioned Essex because council officers had taken a photograph of a man from the county who was selling an old mattress from the back of a van in front of Henry VIII’s Southsea Castle.

He said: ‘People from all over come and sell things and leave a mess, which costs us to clear up.’

A council spokesman said Cllr Hunt’s views were his own and not representative of those of the authority.