An investigation is set to take place after a Conservative councillor in Plymouth was suspended due to a controversial and ‘offensive’ social media post where he was dressed as a woman.
Note: there’s going to be an “investigation” – Owl
Eve Watson www.plymouthherald.co.uk
The Conservative Group has confirmed that Mark Deacon’s suspension is with immediate effect after he posted an image of himself in women’s clothes in response to a proposal for a 6pm men’s curfew by The Green Party’s Baroness Jones.
The suggestion was made in the wake of the disappearance of Sarah Everard and vigils in held in London and across the UK. A fierce debate about women’s safety at night has been sparked by the tragic death of Sarah, aged 33.
Cllr Deacon, a councillor for Southway, is pictured wearing a wig and a dress in the picture. Posted alongside the image is the message: ‘If the Green Party and some Labour Party politicians get their way and impose this ridiculous 6pm curfew on men, then I’m going to wear my dress more often.’
The Conservative Group leader Nick Kelly has now confirmed an internal investigation will take place, and shall commence “as soon as possible”.
He said: “Following a social media post Cllr Mark Deacon made on his Facebook account on Saturday, March 13 2021 which generated lots of differing views being shared about men being subject to a 6pm curfew, The Plymouth Conservative Council Group decided the most appropriate course of action was to suspend Cllr Deacon for an investigation to take place into his actions.
“This investigation will be in accordance with our Group rules and shall commence as soon as possible.
“Cllr Deacon has removed his post and has made a public apology on his Facebook page for any offence he may have caused.”
Cllr Deacon has removed the post and issued a short apology on his page for “any upset he may have caused”. PlymouthLive contacted Cllr Deacon but he said he would be making no further comment.
Also posted on Facebook, his statement reads: “I wholeheartedly apologise for the comments that I made on a post this Saturday Afternoon.
“I didn’t intend any offence that my comments might have caused to a section of the public.”
But the post received plenty of backlash on social media.
Plymouth Labour’s cabinet member for customer focus and community safety Cllr Sally Haydon said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see a senior councillor make a mockery of women’s deeply-felt worries about the issue of male violence.
“It is not befitting of the office of councillor and a member of the shadow cabinet of this council to poke fun at concerns of this nature.
I welcome his suspension and I hope Councillor Deacon will take some time to reflect on the anger his post has generated, to properly understand why it has caused such offence and offer a full apology for his actions.”
Taking to twitter, one user said: “Really unsettling to see sitting Plymouth Conservative councillor Mark Deacon mocking women’s concerns about male violence, trivialising such a serious matter in an extraordinarily offensive fashion.
“You should be ashamed of yourself @MarkDeacon4 “
Another person added: “@plymouthcc Really!? THIS is a PCC Councillor?! Mark Deacon, you should be ashamed of yourself. Couldn’t delete this fast enough, it seems.”
Former Labour MP candidate for Plymouth Moor View, Charlotte Holloway contacted Cllr Deacon via email urging him to remove the post and apologise.