Probe in ‘Nazi jibe’ at meeting

Lawrence Hunt
Lawrence Hunt
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A WIGAN councillor will face an internal investigation after making reference to the Nazis during a council meeting.

The comments made by Labour’s Coun Lawrence Hunt, prompted Tory councillor James Grundy to storm out of the meeting of the Full Council in November.

As reported by the Evening Post, the shock exchange occurred as the chamber was discussing a motion calling on the chief executive to compile a report on the impact of the upcoming welfare reforms.

Speaking about their effects on disabled people in the borough, Wigan Central 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 provoked an immediate response from Lowton East representative Coun Grundy, who demanded an apology. When his fellow councillor refused to apologise, the Tory member left the meeting.

Coun Hunt, who was unavailable for comment, will now face a Standards Committee investigation into whether he breached the national code of conduct for councillors.

The investigation will focus on the sections of the code which state that one “must not bully or be abusive to any person” or “conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the council into disrepute.”

Coun Grundy told the Evening Post that he would be satisfied with an apology from his Labour counterpart.

He said: “My view remains that the comments were inappropriate.

“But if Coun Hunt were to publicly apologise for what he said, admitting it was inappropriate, I would be satisfied.

“Every member needs to discuss the issues at a meeting of the council, but ridiculous language should not be used in the chamber.”

Michael Moulding, deputy leader of the Community Action Party (CAP), who made the official complaint to the council having heard the jibe from the public gallery, described Coun Hunt’s comments as hypocritical and criticised the council for being part of the pilot scheme for the universal credit system.

He said: “If he is so upset at the Tory benefit cuts, why is he a member of the Labour group on Wigan Council who are bringing forward benefit cuts by six months, cutting council tax benefit support and supporting the people of the borough being used as guinea pigs?”