Independent assessment finds UKIP councillor’s remarks to firefighters “racist, derogatory and discriminatory in nature”
17:20 10 April 2014
A UKIP county councillor who described his sister to fire fighters as a ‘w**’, spoke of relatives who were ‘Mongols’ that had children with ‘slanty eyes’ has been condemned by an independent inquiry.
Cambridgeshire County Council said tonight that the independent member of its standards committee had reviewed a complaint against Councillor Peter Lagoda and found he had brought the council into disrepute.
Cllr Lagoda made the remarks during a visit to Wisbech fire station and a council statement said the review concluded that “the remarks by Cllr Lagoda could be interpreted by a reasonable person as racist, derogatory and discriminatory in nature”.
The statement added that the comments were “not acceptable in every day use. It was also the view of the independent person that Cllr Lagoda breached the members’ code of conduct of treating others with respect and bringing their office or authority into disrepute”.
The findings also made a “strong recommendation” that Cllr Lagoda – recently given a 12 month community order for a benefits offence- should write a “sincere apology” to Cambridgeshire Fire Authority.
The council statement added a further recommendation that Cllr Lagoda should attend training on equality and diversity issues.
“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.”
Cllr Lagoda always admitted to using the words but insisted they were in the context of a private conversation and that he must have been “misunderstood” by the firefighters.
He said after the incident had been reported: “Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes.
“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.”
He denied his remarks were racist and said he had answered “honestly about my family and my roots. If I’m asked in future about my family I think I have learnt what to say- nothing.”
Labour MEP Richard Howitt said the remarks were “very shocking” and “deeply offensive”.