UK Conservative councillor suspended over Islamophobic comments returns to head 'wellbeing' board

UK Conservative councillor suspended over Islamophobic comments returns to head 'wellbeing' board
A Tory Councillor in Nottinghamshire has returned to his role despite being suspended over Islamophobic comments made in response to the Nice attacks.
2 min read
13 June, 2020
Steve VIckers was accused of Islamophobia [Hope Not Hate]
A councillor in Nottinghamshire who made derogatory statements about Muslims in the wake of the 2016 terror attack in Nice has been accepted back into the Conservatives following a suspension, and has been given a role that comes with a £23,000 per year allowance.

Steve Vickers, councillor for Retford East, was accused of making Islamophobic posts online by Hope Not Hate, an anti-hate organisation which released a dossier of social media posts from more than 20 Conservative officials.

Among them were six sitting councillors.

A Facebook post made from Vickers’ official account responded to the attack in Nice, France by claiming London Mayor Sadiq Khan “and his brethren” were “part of the problem.”

“The atrocities in Nice. I saw a post this afternoon about lighting candles and holding hands. **** to that. Hunt them all down. Enough of all the political correctness and make Europe a safe place again,” the post read.

“Sadiq Khan has asked questions about increased security in London. He has now! He and his brethren are part of the problem. The Muslim Leaders in every Mosque in the country should be denouncing terrorists attacks [sic] every day in their local papers, in their establishments and on TV and Radio.

“It is them who are now culpable for these attacks by their silence. **** of in Retford!!!!! [sic].”

The post was heavily criticised and Vickers was suspended from the Conservative Party.

At the time, the head of the council said he had made the comments “in the heat of the moment” and had made a private apology that had been accepted.

During a council meeting on Thursday, Councillor Vickers was made chairman of the Health and Wellbeing board, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

The appointment has prompted fresh criticism, and Ashfield District Council has suspended its participation with the board while Vickers is chairman. Meanwhile, calls urging other councils to boycott have also started.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, the leader of Ashfield District Council and an Ashfield Independent county councillor, told Lincolnshire Live: “I think it’s abhorrent to us and tens of thousands of residents, especially given the context of the current climate.

“When someone - no matter how heated - says things like he did, but then says they were sorry about it, he’s rewarded with a highly paid chairmanship.”

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