Labour politician rapped for sick joke

CONTROVERSIAL councillor Chris Newbury has been given a dressing-down by his Labour colleagues.And he's been told he'll have to quit the borough if he ever makes any further inappropriate comments to councillors.

By Paul Geater

CONTROVERSIAL councillor Chris Newbury has been given a dressing-down by his Labour colleagues.

And he's been told he'll have to quit the borough if he ever makes any further inappropriate comments to councillors.

Mr Newbury caused outrage when he told Liberal Democrat councillor Jane Chambers – who has a disability – "They used to put people like you down!"

The Labour councillor for Whitehouse, who is known for his off-beat sense of humour, said he had meant the comment light-heartedly.

But Mrs Chambers – who had not met him before her election to the council in May – made an official complaint to chief executive James Hehir.

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Following our story about the incident, the Labour group on Ipswich council held a meeting and formally censured Mr Newbury.

They issued a statement making clear their anger with him:

"Ipswich Borough Council Labour Group Executive has met with Cllr Chris

Newbury regarding the report in Monday's Evening Star and wishes to

disassociate the Labour Group totally from the comments reported," they said.

"Cllr Newbury has apologised unreservedly to Cllr Chambers and this has

been accepted by her. She has told Cllr Newbury that as far as she is

concerned the matter is at end.

"Cllr Newbury feels his comments were taken out of context but accepts

that his comments were not appropriate under any circumstances.

"Cllr Newbury has given assurances that there will be no repeat of

comments of this nature. He has been warned that if there is any

repetition he will be asked to consider his position on the Council.

"Ipswich Borough Council Labour Group believes it has a good relationship

with groups representing people with disabilities in Ipswich and hopes

that this unfortunate incident will not detract from this."

Deputy council leader David Ellesmere said the first he knew of the incident was when he read about it on the Evening Star's website.

"So far as we are concerned, the matter is now closed – we certainly don't expect a repeat of these kind of comments," he said.

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