Suffolk councillor apologises for ‘Muslim’ remark on Facebook

Stephen Ardley apologised at a council meeting Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Stephen Ardley apologised at a council meeting Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A senior Suffolk councillor who allegedly made an Islamophobic comment on Facebook has apologised.

Conservative Waveney district and Suffolk county councillor Stephen Ardley was suspended from the party last month after he was accused of posting an Islamophobic comment in relation to London mayor Sadiq Khan on Facebook two years ago.

When the allegation surfaced the then Waveney District Council deputy leader was told an investigation would be held.

The comment is understood to have read: “I think it’s unbelievable that a Muslim was actually elected the mayor of this great Christian country – oh wait he’s Labour so the blind leading the blind just vote red and left.”

On Wednesday night, Mr Ardley addressed Waveney District Council’s meeting, and he also apologised in front of Suffolk County Council members yesterday afternoon.

He said: “I must take responsibility for a remark made two years ago on my personal Facebook account which was photo screenshot stored for two years and then reported on June 1 this year.

“Although it was two years ago it does not excuse the remark which was in reference to the election of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

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“I shall not repeat it now but it was a silly and unnecessary comment probably made in the heat of the moment for which I deeply regret and am deeply sorry.

“I apologise for any embarrassment, grief and offence I have caused to councillors, officers, parties, councils and members of the public.”

He added: “I must emphasise the remark does not reflect my character of my feelings concerning Islam, there has been nothing similar since, and there will not be in the future.

“I once again deeply apologise.”

It is understood that Mr Ardley’s investigation is ongoing, and he will put forward his case to the Conservative association at the end of the month.

Mark Bee, Conservative leader at Waveney District Council, said: “The party have allowed it to be dealt with by local determination and I think with natural justice and fairness we are going to give Stephen Ardley an opportunity to address the meeting and to be able to put his case and the executive to then make up their mind.”

Mr Ardley represents the Gunton and Corton wards of Lowestoft as a district councillor, as well as being cabinet member for merger and communities.

The former Lowestoft mayor also represents Gunton at county council level.

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