A COUNCILLOR has been ordered to apologise again after accusing a fellow member of wearing a swastika necklace – but “sincerely” this time.
Green Brighton and Hove City Councillor Ben Duncan will apologise in front of a full meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council on July 17.
The apology will come after he alleged on Twitter that Conservative member Mary Mears was wearing a swastika necklace.
Councillor Mears was actually wearing a St Brigid’s cross, the symbol of St Brigid of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland.
A report to the council’s Audit and Standards Committee, due to be considered at a meeting on Tuesday, said Coun Duncan’s apology at the meeting in March was “not taken as sincere”.
Coun Duncan has said that while he will comply and apologise sincerely, he thinks it is an “overreaction and it’s a waste of council officers’ time”.
He said: “It is a terrible shame that democratically elected councillors are wasting their time having to hear about this before a committee when there are real issues facing the city.”
He said he “never meant to cause anyone offence” and described his Twitter account simply as a “stream of consciousness”.
Coun Duncan tweeted: “Tory councillor Mary Mears appears to be wearing swastika motif on necklace at @BrigtonHoveCC meeting.
“What’s that about? A #masonic thing?”
He went on to tweet: “Gosh it’s easy to wind Tory councillors up here!”
Councillor Mears lodged a formal complaint after the comments were made during a meeting in March.
She said: “It was my suggestion that if he gives a public apology, issues a withdrawal on his Twitter account and a withdrawal in the press the matter can be dropped rather than being dragged through the standards committee.
“I was gobsmacked. It is just so offensive and the most insensitive comment to make.”