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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Conservative Councillor Neil Rockcliffe calls his ward "Chaffrica"

Conservative Councillor, Neil Rockcliffe for Chafford and North Stifford ward in Thurrock, Essex has been slammed for calling his ward "Chaffrica" on his facebook page while on holiday.

Councillor Neil Rockcliffe

Councillor Rockcliffe, wrote: "Is missing being in Chaffrica" and then went on to add:
"Thinking that the scriptwriters of Eastenders must live on Chafford Hundred...has all the ingredients...murderers, rapists, concerned ethnic minorities, gay men etc, etc...."
Councillor Neil Rockliffe, who represents Chafford and North Stifford with just a majority of 117 votes, said he had now removed the posts.

Chafford Hundred has one of the fastest growing black and minority ethnic middle classes in the United Kingdom.

The comments have been slammed by anti-racism organisation TRUST.

A spokesperson speaking on behalf of the Chair of TRUST said: “This isn’t helpful at all. The borough has been red-flagged for community cohesion and we are all working so hard to turn it around.

Speaking to BBC News;
Mr Rockliffe insisted that the reference to "Chaffrica" was a comment about his garden, and how overgrown it is.

He added: "The comment had been blown out of all proportion and taken out of context. It wasn't a public comment and I'm not a career politician."
When asked by the BBC to respond to his references to "murderers, rapists, concerned ethnic minorities (and) gay men," the councillor said: "If you look at the date of the Eastenders comment on Facebook and the episode that went out that night, they were issues in part of that programme."

He said he did not know how the remarks could have got into the public domain but he said they had now been removed.

Speaking before he had managed to speak to Mr Rockliffe himself, Councillor Garry Hague, the leader of the Conservative group and fellow ward councillor on Thurrock Council, told the BBC:
"We are taking this extremely seriously, we will take whatever action is necessary."
A spokesperson for the council refused to be drawn on the matter, but did acknowledge they were aware of it.

Leading Tories are remaining tight-lipped on the subject.

Last week, Councillor Rockcliffe tabled a motion at full council asking: "If the Labour group had something against Chafford Hundred?"

Like every other politician before him, Neil Rockcliffe has made a stupid comment on Facebook and then it appears is denying knowing how it became public!

I would suggest because you pressed enter.

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