Conservative mayor, who sparked outrage by describing disabled people as 'mongols', resigns

Mr Martin, who had previous apologised, was the subject of complaints from two Labour councillors after making the comments during a meeting last year

A Conservative mayor, who sparked outrage by describing disabled people as "mongols" during a council meeting, has resigned.

Nick Martin, mayor of Swindon in Wiltshire, handed in his resignation after being ordered to apologise by a standards watchdog.

Mr Martin was the subject of complaints from two Labour councillors after making the comments during a meeting last year.

Labour councillors said they heard him say: "Are we still letting mongols have sex with each other?"

A standards committee investigation found the councillor to be in breach of the Members' Code of Conduct because of what he said, and ordered him to apologise.

In his resignation letter, Mr Martin said: "It is with regret that I submit my resignation as Mayor of the Borough of Swindon with immediate effect.

"Following the accusations against me, I have co-operated with the independent standards investigation, I have accepted the findings, I have made new apologies and am abiding by the other recommendations from the standards assessment panel.

"However, it is clear that this will not stop the attacks on the office and person of mayor. Therefore, I deem it best for the people of Swindon to resign."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party in Westminster said: "It's a matter for the local party. We believe he has issued some words so we will leave it at that."

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the Scope charity, welcomed Mr Martin's resignation.

"This wasn't just about political correctness and using the wrong words," he said.

"The mayor insinuated that there is something wrong with disabled people having sex with each other.

"Disturbingly, his outdated comments showed a lack of acceptance that disabled people have sex lives, which can be just as fulfilling - or unfulfilling - as anyone else's.

"The outcry following the mayor's comments show that the general public don't condone this kind of deep-seated ignorance towards disabled people."

The Conservative leader of the council, David Renard, told the BBC the process had "proved to be a robust system".

"It was right and proper that due process took its course," he said.

"The mayor accepted the recommendations and has agreed to resign. I think he has made the best decision that he could, in the interests of the office of the mayor and all involved."

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