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Sussex MP questioned by police over alleged racist email
A Sussex MP was interviewed by police for 90 minutes over an allegedly racist email he sent to a constituent.
In the email seen by The Argus, Shoreham and East Worthing MP Tim Loughton told Kieran Francis he backed a description of him as “unkempt”.
Explaining the meaning of this in the email to Mr Francis, the Tory politician said it meant: “Untrimmed, dishevelled and rough.”
Mr Francis, of Romany gypsy descent, took objection to this and approached Sussex Police who investigated the matter as a report of malicious communication.
In November last year police sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which last week advised no further action should be taken.
Mr Loughton signed the email which prompted the police investigation off as “T ‘Potato head’ Loughton”.
He told The Argus this was because of names Mr Francis had called him.
Yesterday, Mr Loughton told The Argus he was not racist.
He said today he was meeting with Chief Constable of Sussex Police Martin Richards and a meeting was also arranged with Police Commissioner Katie Bourne to discuss the matter.
He is set raise the issue in the House of Commons and said the investigation should never have taken place.
He said: “I was interviewed for 90 minutes at the police station and it was intimidating.
“The duty sergeant had to ask me if I could read and write, if I had any mental health problems and if I was on medication.
“He was very embarrassed and said, ‘I am sorry to have to ask you this Mr Loughton’.
“When I was there, there was a group of drug dealers who had just been busted.
“I will be asking the Chief Constable how this happened and why I was investigated.
“There is no way this should have been investigated.
“This is no way for [Sussex Police] to be saving money.”
Mr Francis, 42, of Stoney Lane, Shoreham, maintains he has been persecuted.
He said: “It’s an absolute farce.
“I’m disappointed that the case was dropped. In my opinion he should have been arrested.
“What kind of MP sends an email like this?”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “An allegation of malicious communication was reported to Sussex Police and was fully investigated in the same way it would be for any member of the public.
“The investigation was completed in November and a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. They have advised no further action.”
A CPS statement said: “These were serious allegations and the matter was thoroughly reviewed.”