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Criticism over Hythe Mayor's “inexcusable” robe made with musquash fur

By Sean Axtell

A council is considering shelling out £1,430 for an “inexcusable” mayoral robe made with real fur, sparking a backlash from animal rights campaigners.

A fake fur robe costing £1,180 is also up for consideration with Hythe town councillors next week.

Members rubber stamped the purchase on Friday, after mayor Paul Peacock reported the robe was in a state of disrepair.

Mayor of Hythe Paul Peacock and Admiral Lord Boyce on the Cinque Ports float at the recent Venetian Fete
Mayor of Hythe Paul Peacock and Admiral Lord Boyce on the Cinque Ports float at the recent Venetian Fete

They will decide whether to use real or fake fur at a meeting this week.

“The Mayoress had stitched it up where possible, but it would probably not survive another clean,” says official meeting minutes.

Mayor for Folkestone Roger West and animal rights charity Peta criticised the spending of taxpayers' money.

Mr West said:“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the existing robe.

“It didn’t look too bad to me when I saw it a week ago.

“We haven’t changed our robe for ten years, they are only worn about six or seven times a year.

“I would be upset if they bought a real fur one.”

Mayor of Folkestone Roger West
Mayor of Folkestone Roger West

Elisa Allen, director for Peta, branded the use of musquash “inexcusable” and urged the mayor to be compassionate.

Musquash is the name of the fur that comes from the muskrat – a north American rodent.

Additionally Ms Allen said there is “no sound logic” to use ceremonial robes lined with real fur.

She explained: “It is inexcusable and an act of sheer indifference to public opinion for British representatives to wear garments that so conflict with British values.

“We urge the mayor to follow the compassionate example of many other public servants who have requested for their robes to be lined with faux fur.”

Muskrat - Courtesy Flickr
Muskrat - Courtesy Flickr

When residents took to Facebook to vent their fury over the spending, Councillor Peacock said in a statement he was “surprised” by the backlash.

He continued: “(It’s) such a shame to try and diminish this honour.

“Whenever there is a public civic function or event residents and visitors seem to appreciate the tradition of our place in history as a premier Cinque Port and enjoy seeing it celebrated with all the regalia.

“All the Cinque Port Towns cherish this honour and are proud to uphold it.

“For school children it brings history alive and they are usually fascinated by the whole thing.”

Council members will decide on the new robe at Hythe Town Hall from 6.45pm on Thursday.

The options are £1,430 for a trimmed black velvet and musquash robe or £1,180 for trimmed black velvet and fake fur.

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