Rule change at Hampshire County Council after racism row involving Alexis McEvoy and Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright
The racism row between a New Forest councillor and footballer Ian Wright has seen a change in policy approved at Hampshire County Council.
Councillors who express racist or discriminatory beliefs can now be asked to stand down from HCC.
As reported in the A&T, last year members agreed an all-party notice of motion to pursue a change to the code of conduct to cover posts made by members on their private social media accounts.
This was as a result of councillor Alexis McEvoy branding Match of the Day pundit Wright a “typical black hypocrite” on her now-deleted Twitter account.
She made the comment in relation to his support for Gary Lineker’s criticism of the government’s language on immigration.
Cllr McEvoy, who represents South Waterside, later apologised and quit numerous public roles and the Conservative Party, but still sits on HCC as an unaffiliated member.
The change in policy, which was agreed by the council’s conduct advisory panel last Tuesday, gives the authority the opportunity to “invite” members to step down if they break the new rules.
Members also asked the leader of the council to write to government to request legislation was amended.
A report to the panel said: “The premise of the notice of motion was that members of the county council should all be held to account, ensuring they promote equality and diversity in all that they do.
“Failing to do so has the potential to bring not only the individual, but the county council and all members into disrepute.
“The all-party notice of motion considered that it is incongruent that councillors should hold racist and or discriminatory views, whilst simultaneously considering themselves fit and able to represent all of Hampshire's residents, including every person from an ethnic minority and diverse background.”
Speaking after the meeting, a council spokesperson said: “The changes to the arrangements that have been approved are designed to strengthen the county council’s response to any such incidents.”