Outspoken... and now he’s out of a job as a councillor

AXED Cllr Malcolm Hey
AXED Cllr Malcolm Hey
From left, SOB member Ron Tate with councillors Pamela Crellin, Michael Wilson, Alex Rennie, SOB's Iain Fairley and councillor Gary Robinson

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ONE OF the city’s most controversial councillors has been deselected by the Tory party.

Portsmouth North Conservative Party will not put Councillor Malcolm Hey up for re-election in the Copnor ward, where he has held a seat for 15 years, including the last 11 years in a row.

Cllr Hey, a Christian who is a founder of the city’s Grace Baptist Church on Copnor Road, refused to comment about the decision.

But the party’s chairman Donna Jones, also a city councillor, confirmed Cllr Hey has not been selected, and instead the party will put up Neil Young, a 32 year-old probation service worker, in May next year.

She said: ‘We’re committed to fielding the best candidates, and Neil was the best who applied.’

Cllr Jones refused to say why the Tories’ 24-member executive council denied Cllr Hey the chance to defend his seat.

But a party insider, who asked not to be named, said: ‘He’s done and said things we don’t believe in or agree with and we felt he should go.’

Cllr Hey won Copnor in 1992.

He was voted out in 1996, but retook the seat in 2000, successfully defending it in 2004 and 2008.

But he has been known in the recent past for his outspoken behaviour.

In January this year, he walked out of a full council meeting, in protest against a prayer being read by Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, an imam from Wickham’s Al Mahdi mosque.

He said he had walked out because he felt only Christian prayers should be read at a British council meeting.

But Cllr Hey was criticised for the move, and only kept his role on the council’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education after a plea on his behalf from Roshan Gangji, president of Wessex Jamaat, to which the Imam belongs.

And earlier this month he claimed animal testing should be allowed for medicinal research purposes, saying they are ‘not made in God’s image’ and are ‘tasty’, in a speech prepared for the national Tory party conference.

Tory Cllr Mike Blake, who represents Paulsgrove, will also not be standing next May.

Cllr Blake will step down to join his wife, who lives in Germany, but told The News he will remain a Tory councillor until May.