Reinstated Havant councillor says he was 'guilty of being stupid' over alleged anti-Muslim post
A LONG-STANDING Havant councillor who was suspended over an alleged Islamophobic social media post has now been reinstated and said he was only 'guilty of being stupid.'
Councillor, and former town mayor, Ken Smith spoke of his relief in being welcomed back by his beloved Conservative party this week 'in time for Christmas.'
He said: 'It's a huge relief. I love my role on the council, I have chaired every committee except for planning and have been a cabinet member for three years.'
The councillor of 16 years was one of 25 sitting and former Tory politicians suspended in November after a dossier provided to the party highlighted examples of anti-Muslim social media posts from members.
Specifically Cllr Smith, who represents Bedhampton ward, had commented in agreement with a link shared by a former Tory councillor to a Daily Mail article on Facebook calling Mayor of London Sadiq Khan a ‘big baby’ for ‘shamefully mocking Trump’.
But he confirmed this was because he disagreed with Mr Khan's attitude towards the American president and not his religion.
The 79-year-old explained he was not given an apology as he was 'in the wrong.' He said: 'Unfortunately I didn't know if you went through his (the other councillor's) posts there were anti-Islamic things.
'It was my mistake, but the party recognised I was guilty of being stupid and not of being Islamophobic.
'I think we all got caught up in that pre-election madness.
'I received so many wonderful messages of support from residents. And I was supported by my party leader in Havant as well as the two opposition leaders.
'I am grateful for all the support, one woman even wanted to start a petition for me.'
Although Cllr Smith was technically not part of the party during the general election, he said he was 'delighted' by the Tory landslide.
'I was absolutely delighted with the win, it was fantastic,' he said.
'Now we have the biggest opportunity to put this country right.'
Cllr Smith also thanked his wife Hazel for her support and said he looked forward to spending Christmas with his four grandchildren.
He plans to stand down from Havant Borough Council next year.