Councillors at loggerheads over alleged racist remark at Christmas lights meeting

PUBLISHED: 15:45 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 27 September 2017

Cllr Martin Field, March Town Council. He has complained about an alleged racist remark made by Cllr Kit Owen. Picture: Steve Williams.

Cllr Martin Field, March Town Council. He has complained about an alleged racist remark made by Cllr Kit Owen. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A councillor facing a conduct hearing over claims he made a racist remark has accused a councillor colleague who complained of being “vexatious and politically motivated”.

Cllr Kit Owen who has been accused by Cllr Martin Field of making a racist remark at a Christmas lights committee of March Town Council. Cllr Kit Owen who has been accused by Cllr Martin Field of making a racist remark at a Christmas lights committee of March Town Council.

Carol Pilson, monitoring officer at Fenland District Council who compiled the conduct committee papers, said: “An informal resolution was not possible on this occasion.”

The complaint stems from a meeting of the March Christmas Light committee in June when Councillor Kit Owen (Con) is alleged by Councillor Martin Field (Lab) to have made a racist nature.

“Cllr Owen disputes making these comments,” says Ms Pilson. “As with all complaints it was attempted to resolve this matter informally”.

She said the chairman of the conduct committee Councillor Sam Hoy and an independent panel member agreed that a breach of the code of conduct may have occurred and needed the full committee to consider it.

Ms Pilson reports Cllr Field as claiming that during the meeting it was being discussed who should provide refreshments for the helpers at the Christmas lights switch-on.

“Various suggestions had been made then Kit said ‘we should ask a Muslim because they all have knives’” says Cllr Field.

Cllr Field alleges that no other reference had been made to knives or Muslims and that “he has muttered such things under his breath before at council meetings and I have questioned him about it before”.

The Labour councillor says Cllr Owen apologised but asked who he had offended,

“I told him humanity,” says Cllr Field.

“After the meeting a member of the committee, not a councillor, caught up with me as I was leaving and thanked me for challenging Kit over this. ‘He has been getting away with behaving like that for too long’ he told me.

“At the town council meeting where I raised this behaviour, expecting him to be admonished for his behaviour, he once again behaved as though I was simply spoiling his fun.”

Cllr Owen says that “I did apologise to him if I had offended him in any way, although I also added that I didn’t know how I had offended him if he would not repeat what I was supposed to have said.

“It appears that Councillor Field is now stating that the incident, which I contest, took place within the meeting. How can he state at a main town council meeting that the comment was made outside of a meeting and yet lodge a complaint to Fenland District Council claiming the opposite? His accurate recollection of the event has, at the very least, to be called into question.

“All councillors that I have spoken to concerning this matter back my version of events and, therefore, I believe that these complaints should be thrown out forthwith.”

4 comments

  • The best cure for racism is goodbye to PC and hello to non facetious banter, I am sure that Cllr,s Owen comment was meant in that vein. Cllr Fields should devote his efforts to the positive and not the negative , and not be instrumental in wasting Councils time. As for offending humanity Cllr Fields smug look could well fall into that category.

    Report this comment

    bruce smith

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017

  • Mr Tierney as Mayor of Wisbech shouldn't you be above making comments on social media about, well just about anything. It makes you and the office you hold look cheap and devalues your position. If you feel that something needs to be commented on, get one of your group of fellow tories to do it for you. As for Kit Owen I feel its about time he was taken down a peg or two, typical fen tory, feels he can say what he wants, when he wants and where he wants and knows that the sheep like voters will still vote for him because he has a blue rosette on. Like most of the FDC and Town councillors in this area.

    Report this comment

    contramundum

    Sunday, October 1, 2017

  • Seriously? This is the extent of this claim of "racism?" Look, it may have been an ill-judged comment, but for goodness sake what a ridiculously tame remark to make a conduct report about. And Cllr Fields thinks that this "offended humanity?" Speaks for the whole world now, does he? Ridiculous.

    Report this comment

    Steve Tierney

    Thursday, September 28, 2017

  • What a pathetic basis for a complaint. Hasn't Field got better things to do than be outraged at such an insignificant matter? Clearly not. The PC brigade make me puke with their faux-shock and horror at the least suggestion of cultural stereotyping. For centuries differing cultures have satirised and poked fun at one another. What next - should we be arrested for culture appropriation for mimicking a Yorkshire accent? Grow a pair, Field. Your photo is exactly how I would have imagined you.

    Report this comment

    GaryWisbech

    Thursday, September 28, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

35 minutes ago

Two Littleport shops on the same street were targeted by burglars this weekend.

Whilst most of Cambridgeshire got its first taste of snow at the weekend, our reporter Ben Jolley was enjoying more of it than most care to experience.

00:01

A vaginal mesh implant was trialled on just 31 women and a few sheep before it was launched in hospitals across Britain, Panorama is set to reveal.

Yesterday, 10:41

An agricultural risk expert fears farmers in East Anglia are risking severe financial repercussions, and even jail, because they are unaware of tougher penalties for health and safety breaches.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter