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Row escalates over Cumbrian Ukip councillor's Romanians and crime claim

A councillor who suggested a link between Romanians and thefts is to leave Cumbria’s crime panel after he joined Ukip.

Ukip councillor David Wilson photo
David Wilson

Allerdale’s David Wilson waded into the race row as he defended Ukip leader Nigel Farage, whose party the former independent councillor has just joined.

He has been criticised for his comments by fellow politicians and independent party leader Bill Finlay today confirmed he was waiting to find out if Mr Wilson would be deselected from the panel because he was no longer an Independent councillor.

He said: “People voted for him as an Independent but he’s not that at the moment.

“He can’t represent Independent councillors any longer. Whether we can get rid of him is down to legislation and that’s what I’m looking at today”.

Mr Wilson said he joined Ukip to bring democracy back into local government and because he felt the current executive at Allerdale was “party-whipped”.

It is understood that Mr Wilson this week emailed the Police and Crime Panel indicating his intention to step down, as required by a protocol requiring the committee to reflect the county’s wider political make-up.

In an interview with the News & Star, Mr Wilson, a former police officer said Mr Farage was dealing with facts when he said he would be concerned if Romanians moved next door to him – a comment branded by critics as racist.

Mr Wilson said: “We know that we have a problem with Romanians in this country. We had them here in Aspatria, knocking on doors and stealing things.

“That’s fact. They were definitely Romanians.”

Reacting to the comment, two veteran Cumbrian councillors said Mr Wilson was wrong to link ethnicity to criminality.

John Mallinson, who leads the Conservatives on Carlisle City Council and who also sits on the Police and Crime Panel, said: “I don’t think his comments help the debate. There’s a genuine debate about immigration to be had but we should have it calmly and sensibly and I don’t think flowery language helps.”

Mr Mallinson said he had been amazed that Mr Wilson had said what he did, adding that there was no evidence to suggest Romanians were responsible for more crime than English people.

Police and Crime Panel chairwoman Celia Tibble, a fellow Allerdale councillor for Labour, said she was disappointed a former police officer could express the views Mr Wilson had.

She described his making a link between nationality and crime as “ill-advised”.

She said: “We are fighting hard against the BNP in Maryport and Workington, and they’re trying to get people to react against their neighbours, because we do now have a eastern European community in Maryport.

“There were a significant number of Polish airmen who died bringing planes to Silloth in the war who are buried in Silloth. There are two major employers in Workington and Maryport who, if we were not in Europe, would probably not be here.”

After his controversial interview, Mr Farage issued a semi-apology. He said: “I regret the fact that I was, sort of, completely tired out... I didn't use the form of words in response that I would have liked to have used.”

Have your say

It's all over now until next year when the protest voters revert back to their Labour, Tory, Lib Dem candidates.

Posted by ian on 30 May 2014 at 13:52

Ian H asks me why I'm being so 'silly' in not seeing that his invented term 'Liblabcons' means the three main political parties, whose manifestos are 'indistinguishable'. Either Ian is staggeringly ignorant and politically naive - or he's pulling our legs. I suspect the latter. I can't bring myself to believe in such puerile political codswallop - it can't be possible.

Posted by Harry on 30 May 2014 at 13:52

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