Councillor resigns from committee following ‘outburst’

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A councillor has resigned from a planning committee after making disparaging remarks about Gypsies last week.

Cllr Robert Clifton-Brown’s ‘outburst’ occurred last Thursday during a debate by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee to determine a planning application for a Travellers’ site off Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds, which it refused.

The Withersfield Conservative has since issued a ‘sincere apology’ for ‘any offence caused by his comments and suggestions made about Travellers’ and has resigned from the committee.

His comments have been ‘condemned’ by Sara Mildmay-White, chairman of the Conservative group on the council.

She said: “We do not in any way support the views expressed by him at that meeting. We have spoken to Cllr Clifton-Brown and he has made it clear that he regrets his outburst. Nonetheless we have very clear disciplinary procedures in our group constitution and will be following these on this matter.”

The applicant’s parish priest, Father Mark Hackeson, said he was ‘dismayed and disgusted’, adding:“The councillor’s intervention was as inflammatory and prejudiced as it was extraordinary.”

The council says it is ‘looking into the matter’.