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Rutland County Councillor reported to police following "racist and bigoted behaviour"

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Coun Richard Alderman
Coun Richard Alderman

Rutland County Council is investigating a Facebook post made by newly elected councillor Richard Alderman in which he referred to Labour's Diane Abbott as a monkey.

In the post, which was made on June 16 before he was elected as a ward member for Oakham South West, Coun Alderman wrote: "The monkey is out of her tree again send it to the animal labs" (sic).

The post was accompanied by a picture of Diane Abbott and a male BBC news presenter.

A statement released on Tuesday, July 17, on behalf of Council Leader Oliver Hemsley regarding the post stated: "Rutland County Council was made aware of the posts made by newly elected Coun Alderman on Monday, July 16.

"We wholly condemn the use of racist and bigoted behaviour.

"This is not acceptable in our communities or our council."

Coun Hemsley said that having reviewed Coun Alderman's comments, "I believe that he is in breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct and I have referred this to the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

"We have also referred the matter to the police."

Coun Alderman (Independent) had earlier on Tuesday defended the post made on June 16.

He accused both the current Conservative-led government and previous Labour governments of “giving the country away”.

“I feel that the way she (Diane Abbott) reacts, she is very, very racist,” said Coun Alderman when asked about the post.

He declined to comment on the matter further.

Coun Alderman was elected as a ward member for Oakham South West following a by-election on July 12.

His election came following a tie with Joanna Burrows (Lib Dem).

Both received 177 votes and in accordance with electoral legislation, he was elected by the Returning Officer drawing lots.

"We would like to unreservedly assure the residents of Rutland that the views expressed by Coun Alderman are by no means representative of Rutland County Council and we are doing all we can to support the authorities in their investigations,” said Coun Hemsley.

Coun Marc Oxley, Leader of the Council’s Independent Group, said: "I am disgusted to read the newly elected councillor’s comments on Facebook.

"He is not affiliated with the Council’s Independent Group.

"I wholly support the action being taken by Coun Hemsley and Rutland County Council and trust the authorities to deal with this sufficiently."

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