Grimsby

UKIP defend party member “doing her duty” over travellers site comments

UKIP has stood by a Grimsby councillor who highlighted social media posts threatening violence against travellers because she was “doing her duty”.

A spokesman for the party said that when Councillor Jane Bramley told a meeting on the Nunsthorpe Estate that petrol bombs were being prepared she was “quoting something that had been shared with her in her role as councillor”.

The statement related to a North East Lincolnshire Council shortlist of temporary travellers sites which features two locations in the South Ward and three in East Marsh.

The spokesman said: “It really is the duty of those in elected positions to shine a light on issues especially something as serious as that [the threats of firebombs].

“That’s some serious stuff people are talking about and should be reported straight to the police.”

Several of those against the plans, including Councillor Bramley, gathered outside North East Lincolnshire Council Scrutiny last week.

They admitted the method of publicising it “wasn’t the best” but added “she has got to protect the people in her community.”

They confirmed no further investigation into Councillor Bramley’s phrasing would take place by the party.

Meetings of North East Lincolnshire Council’s scrutiny and cabinet last week, which were both attended by campaigners, saw the shortlist pushed through by the ruling group to go out to public consultation.

Technical assessments of each site will also be drawn up and scrutinised.

During cabinet Councillor Bramley read a letter from a local resident which repeated the claims that travellers had been threatened with being “stoned, bottled and firebombed” by “Nunny thugs”.

Angry residents at the meeting in Nunsthorpe. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Defending her comments previously, she repeated that she did not condone violence and called for all parties to come together to find a suitable site.

She says the Nunsthorpe sites are “in the wrong place” and has been joined by fellow campaigners in saying none of the shortlist is suitable.

Complaints have been submitted to North East Lincolnshire Council and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Gate Herts is one of those who wrote to the council after receiving a number of complaints.

Chief Officer Josie O’Driscoll told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines that statements from councillors hold “more clout” than those from members of the general public.

North East Lincolnshire scrutiny councillors discussed the plans before they were approved by cabinet last week.

She added: “It’s also her duty to uphold her statutory duties for there to be cohesion between all the communities.

“I’m sure she has travellers are a part of her constituency and she needs to treat everyone fairly.

“You cannot just put out sweeping statements about whole communities.”

She said those who made the threats on social media “could have stood up and said what they needed to themselves.”

North East Lincolnshire Council has said complaints are investigated in line with its councillor code of conduct.

One of the proposed sites on Torksey Drive. Photo: Daniel Jaines

It is understood the comments have also been reported to Humberside Police, however, the force would neither confirm or deny specific reports.

The five sites proposed, cut down from a 25-site list, include:

  • Former youth club on Wootton Road, Nunsthorpe
  • Torksey Drive and Toynton Road site, off Winchester Avenue
  • Land under the Cleethorpe Road flyover
  • Garibaldi Street car park
  • The car park off Wellington Street

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