POLITICS

Ukip Councillor Peter Lagoda Quits After 'Racist' Remarks Outrage

11/04/2014 10:23 BST | Updated 11/04/2014 10:59 BST
Steve Williams

Ukip county councillor Peter Lagoda has quit after an independent review found that controversial remarks he made during a fire station visit were "racist, derogatory and discriminatory".

Lagoda, a councillor in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, has resigned the party whip and will now sit as an independent on Cambridgeshire County Council, the local party confirmed. He is also understood to have resigned his party membership.

Councillor Paul Bullen, leader of the Ukip group on Cambridgeshire County Council, told HuffPostUK: "That case has now been concluded and I have, today, informed Cllr Lagoda that he will not be re-instated to either the Group or the Party. Cllr Lagoda has informed me that he will be resigning from UKIP with immediate effect but that he intends to continue to sit as an independent councillor.

"From a UKIP perspective, this subject is now concluded."

Lagoda's remarks at Wisbech fire station caused one of the firefighters to to lodge a complaint, as he admitted to describing his sister to the firefighters as a "w*g" and spoke about his "Mongol" relatives having children with "slanty eyes".

Cambridgeshire County Council said that an independent member of the standards committee had looked into a firefighter's complaint about Lagoda's remarks at the fire station and found that Cllr Lagoda had brought the council into disrepute.

"The remarks by Cllr Lagoda could be interpreted by a reasonable person as racist, derogatory and discriminatory in nature," the review concluded.

"Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes," Lagoda said in a telephone interview with HuffPost UK in February.

"They've taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It's always the British that bastardize words."

The council review concluded that Cllr Lagoda's remarks were "not acceptable in every day use. It was also the view of the independent person that Cllr Lagoda breached the members's code of conduct of treating others with respect and bringing their office or authority into disrepute".

"It was noted by the independent person that Cllr Lagoda did not dispute he had used the words but these were part of a private conversation and not in the public arena.

"It was also highlighted that the councillor had shown remorse and that the fire authority personnel had indicated the approach suggested by the independent person was acceptable to them."

The councillor, who was suspended by Ukip after being charged with benefits fraud , was given a "strong recommendation" to write a "sincere apology" to Cambridgeshire Fire Authority and attend equality and diversity training.

Cllr Martin Curtis, Conservative leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, told HuffPostUK: "Cllr Lagoda has letting the people he was elected to serve down. If we had a power of recall for errant Councillors, I am certain he would be forced out of office, he should stand down and allow someone to be elected who can carry out the role effectively and with appropriate dignity."

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