Ipswich: Borough councillor loses committee chair after making ‘inappropriate’ European jibe

Richard Kirby

Richard Kirby

A councillor has been stripped of some of his duties after making an “inappropriate” comment about European families.

According to Labour councillor Roger Fern, councillor Richard Kirby made a comment about EU residents coming to this country and having children.

The comment was made during an overview and scrutiny committee meeting, which included a discussion about a new report that said the average population of Ipswich was younger than that of many other places.

The meeting was being chaired by Conservative Kym Stroet, but the comment was taken up by council leader David Ellesmere. Mr Fern said Mr Kirby had not referred to any particular country in his comment which was a “throwaway remark.”

Mr Ellesmere said: “At a meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee Cllr Kirby made some comments that he accepts were not appropriate.

“The matter has been dealt with under the Labour Group’s disciplinary processes.

“Councillor Kirby has apologised to members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the officers present and will be attending an appropriate training course in the near future.

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“He has also agreed to step down as Chair of the Licencing and Regulatory Committee with immediate effect.”

Mr Kirby sent an e-mail to councillors apologising for his comments.

He said: “I made some inappropriate comments when discussing the State of Ipswich report. I have apologised to the committee members and officers present for the offence these remarks caused.

“It was not my intention to cause offence but I now realise that the words I used were very misjudged .

“I have agreed to undertake an appropriate training course and I will be stepping down as Chair of Licensing and Regulatory committee with immediate effect .

“I would like to thank you all for your support on the committee and will continue to serve as a member of it.”