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Suspended councillor who said homosexuality was 'sickening' and 'depraved' to face no further action

Graham Down was suspended last year after comments he made in 2016

2019-07-31

Words: Steve Brown

A suspended councillor who called homosexuality a ‘sickening and depraved practice’ won’t face any more action.

Graham Down was suspended from the Mathern Community Council last year after breaching their code of conduct over comments he made back in 2016 while serving of Monmouthshire county council.

In a series of emails – which were criticised by Paul Matthews, the chief executive of the authority – Cllr Down criticised the council for flying a rainbow flag at the County Hall and saying homosexuality was an ‘immortal perversion to be condemned, not promoted’.

An ombudsman was called in and referred Cllr Down’s comments back to the APW as a fresh breach of the code of conduct, the Local Democracy Reporting Service claimed.

However, the councillor argued that his comments were made during a hearing which had ended and there had been no written complaint to justify a new investigation.

He said: “It was made in a highly charged, emotional moment and whilst I do not retract the words used, I regret my conduct and apologise to the Panel for the outburst.”

But now, it the APW’s latest report, it said there was ‘no dispute of fact that Cllr Down said the words attributed to him’ but they rejected the call for any further action.