No breach of code for ‘Nazi’ remark

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A WIGAN councillor will not face sanction for likening government welfare reforms to ‘Nazi’ policies at a meeting of the full council.

More than a year since the remark was made, Wigan Central’s Lol Hunt has been informed he did not breach the members’ code of conduct.

Speaking on a motion calling for the chief executive to compile a report on the impact of welfare reforms, Labour representative Coun Hunt said: “We have come to expect this kind of treatment with these so-called reforms from the Nasty Party.

“All right-wing regimes of the past, and I include the Nazis in that, have targeted disabled people. The reforms are targeting the most vulnerable in society.”

The Nazi reference sparked an immediate response from Conservative Coun James Grundy who left the meeting after his request for an apology was turned down.

Council bosses referred the incident to its standards committee following a complaint from an onlooker sat in the public gallery.

Concerns were voiced that the comment had directly referred to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

But the comments were found not to be in breach of code requirements “not to bully or be abusive to any person” or “not conduct yourself in a manner that could be regarded as bringing your office or council into disrepute”.

A statement from Wigan Council said: “The decision of the monitoring officer is that although Coun Hunt did make a Nazi comparison related to the government, or more specifically the Conservative members representing the government’s right wing, and their policy towards disabled families under welfare reform.

“It was not directed to Rt Hon Mr Iain Duncan Smith MP or any other person. As such this was a legitimate and valid political argument and while it may be considered an extreme comparison, was not offensive, malicious nor insulting to any person.”

Representative for Lowton East Coun Grundy told the Evening Post that he would not comment until he had read the committee’s full report.

Coun Hunt said: “I did make the point that in my view this Government are systematically attacking disabled people and their families.

“I am glad the standards committee found that I did not breach the code of conduct.”