No apology in racial comment row

TORY Stephen Barker has today written to Labour councillor Harold Mangar in the race row that has blown up between them.But he is refusing to apologise for comments he made during questions about traffic in Ipswich.

TORY Stephen Barker has today written to Labour councillor Harold Mangar in the race row that has blown up between them.

But he is refusing to apologise for comments he made during questions about traffic in Ipswich.

Mr Mangar took exception after Mr Barker said he had been told that asylum-seekers had used a county council cheque to try to buy a car because that was cheaper than supplying them with bus fares.

Mr Mangar, who is chairman of the county council, has written to Mr Barker twice threatening to report him to the borough's standards committee if he did not withdraw the comment.

But Mr Barker today remained unrepentant. "I have written to Mr Mangar to explain that I have nothing to apologise for.

"I was merely asking a question based on information I had been given.

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"There was nothing racial about it. So far as I am concerned all men are equal whatever their colour, creed, or background."

Mr Mangar said he had asked for a public apology – or he would take the matter to the council's standards committee to consider at its next meeting in December.