Thanet 'homophobia' row councillor John Worrow to quit
by Karina Barker
A Thanet councillor at the centre of a row about alleged
homophobia has announced he is stepping down at the next
Independent John Worrow, who represents Birchington South and is
bisexual, said the "heterocentric attitude of intolerant
Conservatives" had led him to the decision.
It is the latest twist in a saga that began in 2011 when former
Tory party member Cllr Worrow, pictured right, resigned the
party whip and became independent.
The Conservatives lost their majority of one, and the balance of
power shifted to Labour.
Last May, Margate Tory Cllr Ken Gregory
was cautioned by police after leaving a voicemail on Cllr
Worrow's phone saying he "hoped he died of Aids".
In January, a council-appointed investigator ruled Cllr Worrow
breached the members' code of conduct after he called several
councillors "homophobes" at a Thanet District Council meeting in
Cllr Worrow, the council's lead member for equalities, said he
used the word in no particular context, and accused his fellow
councillors of "harassment".
He has written to Kent's Police Commissioner Ann Barnes,
asking her to look into the issue.
Cllr Worrow said: "While this was a tough decision, I've
realised that the current system is incompatible with the modern
way of thinking.
"Minority groups will always have to deal with intolerant
councillors, and as a police investigation found that I was the
victim of a homophobic incident, it should not have needed a
separate council investigation to see why I used that word."
Cllr Worrow said he would continue to represent the ward until
2015, when the next election is due to be held.
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