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Race row councillor called on to resign

Cllr Fenwick found guilty of aggravated assault

A Prospective Labour MP has called for a former Lib Dem councillor for Sutton to resign after he was found guilty of racially aggravated assault.

Sutton and Cheam candidate Emily Brothers told the Star yesterday that Councillor Stephen Fenwick has a "duty to stand down."

Cllr Fenwick resigned his Lib Dem whip before being found guilty of verbal and physical racial abuse of a central London barman in January.

He pleaded guilty and was given a yearly conditional discharge as well as a fine earlier this month at the Westminster magistrates court.

But he remains the councillor for the Worcester Park ward, which he has represented since 2010.

Ms Brothers added: "Councillors need to represent and support all of their constituents, yet how can this be possible when a Lib Dem acts in a racist manner?

"As a public figure representing the council, I consider that Councillor Fenwick has brought his public office into disrepute - so he should go without delay."

She lodged a complaint with the council leader and the standards committee after discovering the verdict.

However she was told by Sutton Council's executive of legal and democratic services Sanjay Prashar that its code of conduct only applies to councillors when they are working in an official capacity.

Mr Prashar said the private nature of the incident leaves Mr Fenwick free to continue his work as a councillor.

Ms Brothers emailed Cllr Fenwick with a request for him to resign last Friday but is yet to receive a reply.

She claims Sutton Council Lib Dem leader Ruth Dombey branded Mr Fenwick's action unacceptable but said the party would take no action against him.

The party's lacklustre response was roundly criticised by Ms Brothers, who accused them of trying to "sweep this under the carpet, opting for process over principle."

"It's wholly unacceptable that the Lib Dem council is appeasing racist behaviour.

"I'm left with no option other than to call on Councillor Fenwick to resign immediately," she added.


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