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Councillor apologises for 'silly and unnecessary' comments about Sadiq Khan

PUBLISHED: 14:55 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:55 19 July 2018

Stephen Ardley apologised at a council meeting. Picture: Archant Library

Stephen Ardley apologised at a council meeting. Picture: Archant Library

Archant

A Conservative councillor who was suspended from the party after allegedly posting Islamphobic comments on Facebook has apologised.

Stephen Ardley, who was deputy leader of Waveney District Council before his suspension, allegedly said in a Facebook post that it was “unbelievable” that a Muslim had been elected as mayor of London.

The councillor for the Gunton and Corton ward in Lowestoft had said: “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.”

In a statement at the meeting, Mr Ardley 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. 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 Mr Ardley will be attending diversity training.

The investigation into Mr Ardley is ongoing and will conclude with a meeting at the end of the month where Mr Ardley will be able to put forward his case to the local Conservative association.

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.”

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