Race row Tory speaks out

RACE row Tory Keith Myers-Hewitt today revealed his daughter married a black Jamaican -and told about the battles against racism he fought on behalf of his mixed-race grandchildren.

RACE row Tory Keith Myers-Hewitt today revealed his daughter married a black Jamaican -and told about the battles against racism he fought on behalf of his mixed-race grandchildren.

He broke his silence after resigning from the Conservative group on Suffolk County Council after weeks of pressure following an adjudication panel hearing where it was found he had used the expression: “Have the aliens landed or is it an invasion of darkies?” during a visit to Stowmarket library last year.

The panel decided not to take any action against him - but after mounting pressure he announced this week he would now be sitting as an independent councillor.

He said: “Until now the Conservative group advised me to keep quiet and hopefully the issue would die down.

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“Well, it hasn't and now I'm not in the group any more I can put my side across. I've never been a racist and if there are two people who say they've heard me use racist language then I'll resign from the council.

“I know about racism. My daughter got married 25 years ago to a chap from Jamaica. My grandchildren were subject to racist taunts at school and I had to walk them to school because they were too frightened to go on their own.

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“I also had to go and see the headmaster on behalf of my grandchildren - I know all about racist abuse.”

Mr Myers-Hewitt said his attitude towards racism and human rights had been forged by images he had seen as a young teenager at the end of the war.

He said: “I saw photographs of bodies from Belsen and that had a big effect on me. Even now, I feel if people really need asylum from places like Zimbabwe then they should get into this country.

“If people ask me 'how many can we take?' I remember those pictures from Belsen and say as many as really need asylum.”

He still claims he was misheard during his fateful visit to Stowmarket library. He said: “I never used those words, I wouldn't ever say that.”

DON'T even think about joining our group!

That was the blunt message today to former Conservative county councillor Keith Myers-Hewitt who announced he was resigning from his party group at Endeavour House.

Mr Myers-Hewitt announced earlier this week that he was resigning from the Tory group at the council after the race row.

However the Liberal Democrat and Independent group at the council today said they would reject any application by Mr Myers-Hewitt.

The group includes seven Liberal Democrat councillors and independent councillor Richard Kemp - a former Liberal Party parliamentary candidate.

Group leader Kathy Pollard today urged Mr Myers-Hewitt to offer himself for re-election.

She said: "There is no place in the Liberal Democrat and Independent group for people who make racist remarks.

“If Mr. Myers-Hewitt is so sure of the support of Stowmarket people he should resign and then stand for re-election, now that the Standards Board's findings have been published.

“Anything less would be an insult to the reputation of Suffolk County Council and the voters of Stowmarket South."

Mr Myers-Hewitt laughed off the idea of joining the Liberal Democrat and Independent group. He said: “I'd commit suicide before I joined those clowns.

“I'm going to sit as a completely independent councillor - but I'm still a member of the Conservative Party. I've always been a true blue.”

n. Do you think Mr Myers-Hewitt should offer himself for re-election? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters.co.uk

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