Local elections: Conservatives win control of council after reinstating councillor suspended for racist joke comparing an Asian to a dog

'She turned up with a Conservative rosette literally as the votes were being counted,' says local Labour leader

Jon Sharman,Thomas Hornall
Saturday 05 May 2018 08:47 BST
Local elections 2018: The final results

The Conservatives gained control of a local council by one seat after reinstating a candidate who had been suspended over a racist Facebook joke.

Rosemary Carroll, who made a post comparing an Asian person with a dog last June, rejoined in the last few days and helped the Tories to narrow control of Pendle council in Lancashire.

Conservative group leader Paul White said: “The post was shared in error but Rosemary fully accepted the potential upset caused and sincerely apologised.

Pendle councillor Rosemary Carroll, during her time as mayor
Pendle councillor Rosemary Carroll, during her time as mayor (Pendle Council)

“Having served her suspension period she rejoined the party and completed additional diversity training.”

Ms Carroll, a former mayor of Pendle who represents the Earby ward, previously said she meant to delete the post but accidentally published it in error.

Following her suspension she sat as an independent councillor.

Mohammed Iqbal, the leader of the council’s Labour group, said the situation was an “appalling state of affairs”.

He said: “Here’s a councillor who brought shame on the borough on an international level and was welcomed back into the fold with open arms simply to grab control to the council.

“She turned up with a Conservative rosette literally as the votes were being counted.”

Ms Carroll was suspended from the party for three months over the post.

She had rejoined the party “in the last few days”, meaning her seat reverted to the Conservatives, Mr White told the BBC.

The political balance of the council is now Conservatives, 25 seats; Labour 15 seats; and Liberal Democrats nine seats.

Mr Iqbal added: “If it was a fair and square result I could take it on the chin but this is shocking.”

The council said it was told Ms Carroll had rejoined the party at lunchtime on Friday.

Additional reporting by PA

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