Fareham Tory councillor axed from party after racist rant

03/05/12 CB

Conservative party winning candidate, David Whittingham celebrates during the local election count for Fareham at Ferneham Hall.
Picture: Ian Hargreaves 4 ENGPPP00120120405025329
03/05/12 CB Conservative party winning candidate, David Whittingham celebrates during the local election count for Fareham at Ferneham Hall. Picture: Ian Hargreaves 4 ENGPPP00120120405025329

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A TORY councillor has been booted out of the party after being found guilty of being racist during a conversation with senior officers, The News can reveal.

Councillor David Whittingham, who represents Fareham North West, was investigated by the borough council’s complaints panel after it was alleged he went on a racist rant during a conversation with three housing officers.

In an official report into Cllr Whittingham’s conduct, it was revealed he said ‘I was talking to an officer earlier and told them that I did not want any foreigners living in my road’.

He was also reported after ‘talking in an accent that sounded like a person of Indian / Pakistani origin attempting to speak English.’

Today Cllr Whittingham says he’s apologised for what happened - and admitted to mocking a foreign accent.

The complaints panel has now ruled that Councillor Whittingham’s comments and behaviour ‘were racist in nature’ which ‘caused offence and upset to the officers who witnessed this behaviour.’

He has also been stripped of his Tory party membership and the following action will be taken by the complaints committee;

1) to issue a letter of censure from the Chairman of the Standards Sub Committee;

2)to instruct the Monitoring Officer to arrange appropriate training for Councillor Whittingham;

3) Councillor Whittingham must provide individual written apologies to the Officers;

4) Councillor Whittingham’s permission to access the Civic Offices is removed for a period of two months, except to attend statutory Council or Committee meetings or is invited by Officers to attend for a specific purpose; and the report and appendices be no longer treated as exempt information and be open for public inspection, save for the names of the individuals involved.

Speaking about the decision, Cllr Seán Woodward, Tory leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I am shocked at a Fareham Borough Councillor exhibiting such appalling racist behaviour to our officers who are not in a position to defend themselves.

‘The officer was extremely upset and I am sorry that the officer and the officer’s colleagues should have been subject to such language and behaviour from an elected Councillor.

‘We have a zero tolerance policy to such behaviour.

‘The Council has used all of the sanctions at its disposal against Councillor Whittingham and it is my hope that he will also be found wanting in the court of public opinion when he presents himself for re-election on May 5 and that his short political career is now at an end.’

During an investigation into the incident, Cllr Whittingham recalled that he said jokingly ‘what are you doing putting immigrants in my ward without my knowledge?’

But he denied making statements about not wanting any foreigners in his road or his housing stock.

He recalled that when asked by one of the officers to clarify what he meant by foreigners, he repeated a telephone conversation he had recently with a representative of Vodafone.

He imitated the Vodafone employee by using an accent that was meant to be Asian/Indian as he recounted the conversation.

Following his impersonation, he told officers present that he could not understand a word of what the woman had been saying.

Cllr Whittingham was de-selected as the Conservative candidate for Fareham North West in the upcoming Fareham local elections prior to the conclusion of the investigation.