Councillor insists he is not a racist
By Danielle NuttallA COUNCILLOR who faced a tribunal after making a racially-offensive comment has insisted he is not a racist.Keith Myers-Hewitt escaped punishment after the Adjudication Panel for England decided he had not breached Stowmarket Town Council's code of conduct.
By Danielle Nuttall
A COUNCILLOR who faced a tribunal after making a racially-offensive comment has insisted he is not a racist.
Keith Myers-Hewitt escaped punishment after the Adjudication Panel for England decided he had not breached Stowmarket Town Council's code of conduct.
Mr Myers-Hewitt, who is the Conservative county councillor for Stowmarket South and a member of Stowmarket Town Council, said, in a written statement issued yesterday, he wished to unreservedly apologise.
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“The Adjudication Panel has recently published its findings on remarks made by me at Stowmarket Library last year. This was when I was a Stowmarket town councillor and before being elected as a county councillor,” he said.
“The panel found me not to be in breach of the code of conduct. Nonetheless, I wish unreservedly to apologise to anyone to whom the reported remarks have caused or may cause offence.
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“I know that I am not a racist. I recognise that as a councillor I have a duty at all times to promote the interests of all people who live or work in Suffolk. As a councillor, I have a duty to promote mutual respect and tolerance.”
Mr Myers-Hewitt appeared before the panel after a complaint was made to the Standards Board for England about a comment he made in the town's library.
Ursula Scott, an inquiry officer at the library, told the panel that Mr Myers-Hewitt had visited shortly after it opened on July 7 last year.
She said Mr Myers-Hewitt had seemed to have been annoyed because there had been a fine to pay on one of his wife's books.
There were few people in the library at the time, but there were two Afro-Caribbean men and an Asian couple using the computers.
Mrs Scott said Mr Myers-Hewitt had glanced towards the people on the computer and said: “Have aliens landed or is it an invasion of darkies? I suppose they are e-mailing their friends.”
A report by the panel said Mr Myers-Hewitt had been clearly off-duty on his visit to the library and had been using it just as any other private individual might.
While it took the view the allegation was a serious one in that it involved clearly offensive words that should never have been uttered, the panel ruled their use had not involved a criminal offence.
The panel said it was also satisfied the comments had not been made with any racial motivation.