Councillor quits after hundreds of complaints over sharing of racist posts

The county council has received more 600 complaints about Robin Vickery sharing racist Facebook post

The county council has received more 600 complaints about Robin Vickery sharing racist Facebook posts. Picture Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Robin Vickery has resigned from both Suffolk and Ipswich councils at the end of a day that saw more than 600 complaints against him sharing racist posts on his Facebook page.

And he also resigned his Conservative Party membership before he was subject to an investigation in the racist posts.

Suffolk County Council’s monitoring officer had received 620 complaints and a further 20 complaints were logged with Ipswich Borough Council’s monitoring officer. Mr Vickery is the county councillor for the Carlford Division and borough councillor for the Castle Hill ward.

On Monday evening he said: “I have resigned from the councils and the party. I had been planning to stand down at the next elections, but I’ve had enough. I’m going to enjoy my retirement. I don’t need this hassle. I have been subjected to some horrible comments – far worse than anything I have said.”

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Vickery had shared racist tweets calling for BAME people to be deported – including leading Labour politicians Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott – and comparing the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was attacked and killed near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich in 2013, with that of George Floyd in the US. Fusilier Rigby’s mother has asked for the name of her son not to be used for political ends.

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A spokesman for the county council said the complaints had come in from employees as well as from the general public. An e-mail address for council complaints was included in one of the tweets linking to Mr Vickery’s Facebook entries.

Mr Vickery said on Sunday that he had shared the comments, but had not read some of them – and had not been aware of Fusilier Rigby’s mother’s objections. He has been suspended by the Conservative groups at both the borough and county council pending an investigation which is expected to take a few days.

Kim Clements, Labour Spokesperson for Equalities, said, “Suffolk County Council Labour Group condemns the racist posts shared on social media by Robin Vickery. These posts are clearly abhorrent and have no place in a civilised society, let alone at Suffolk County Council.

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“This is not a one off mistake – Councillor Vickery has shared a number of racist posts over an extended period. The Conservative Party must now expel him and he should also resign his position as a councillor effective immediately.

“The Labour Group fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement. The peaceful protest in Ipswich on Saturday was a powerful demonstration of how much work still needs to be done to end institutional racism. We stand together with all those that are tackling the inequality, injustice and discrimination that exists in our society.”

Ipswich council’s Labour leader David Ellesmere said: “I was appalled to read the posts that Mr Vickery has shared. He is likely to be expelled by his party and he should consider his position on the councils and not just wait to serve out his terms.”

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