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Medway community safety chief Cllr David Carr resigns after saying travellers 'screw everything up'

Cllr David Carr
Cllr David Carr

The man in charge of allocating Medway's traveller sites has today resigned from the cabinet after saying travellers "screw everything up".

Cllr David Carr (Con), a former mayor, made the comments during his first interview as cabinet member for community safety on Medway Council last week.

When asked for his views on how best to deal with travellers, he said generally he was "against freeloaders".

He added: "I would have no hesitation in strategising a solution for travellers if travellers were going to be responsible community inhabitants, but that in itself is questionable against their name – 'travellers'.

"If they're going to travel they can hardly become part of the integrated community.

"They move on and turn it into a building site. They crap all over the place, they p*ss over the field, they throw rubbish all over the place."

"The language I used about the travelling community was inappropriate and ill-considered and I apologise most profusely for any offence caused..." - Cllr David Carr

His comments led to Cllr Carr being compared to British National Party leader Nick Griffin by one of his own colleagues.

In a statement, Cllr Carr today said he had decided to step down from the cabinet "for the good of the council" and apologised for his comments. He remains a councillor.

He said: "This was not an easy decision, nor one that I have taken lightly, but I consider it the right one.

"The language I used about the travelling community was inappropriate and ill-considered and I apologise most profusely for any offence caused.

"The role involves significant partnership working and relationship building and I realise that under the current circumstances this would not be possible for me to do.

"I would like to draw a line under this and focus on my other council duties."

His Tory colleague Peter Hicks assumes the role with immediate effect.

Council leader Cllr Rodney Chambers said: "Cllr Carr does realise that the language he used about the travelling community was unacceptable and offered his resignation for the good of the council and I have accepted it."

The comments were condemned by the Gypsy Council, who called for him to be prosecuted as well as lose his job.

Mr Carr's criticisms of traveller behaviour and lifestyle were made at the council offices five days into his new role.

He added: "Are they just people who sit in a caravan and plant themselves wherever they see fit without paying council tax and without cleaning up after themselves? Should one develop a nice strategy for that... no.

"They live on the fringe of that. They take everything they can get and give very little back so I take a pretty hard line.

"Why don't they learn to live like everybody else does? Why do they take everything, screw it up and move on?

"If they wanted to be part of society and take their place in society by paying their way, cleaning up after themselves and allowing themselves to be subject to community laws... if I could guarantee that and we had a nice brownfield site somewhere that they wouldn't screw up and we knew for sure they would take a positive attitude I would be very happy to do that.

"But as far as I know successes in this area are very very few and far between."

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