Eric Kitson investigated over Facebook posts

13 May 2013 Last updated at 22:19
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-22516724

UKIP councillor Eric Kitson’s ‘racist’ Facebook posts probed

UKIP officials are investigating claims a new Worcestershire councillor posted offensive material about Muslims on Facebook.

Eric Kitson, who won the Stourport-on-Severn seat on 2 May, said he shared racist cartoons and jokes only to show people how “disgusting” they were.

He said it had been “stupid” for him to share the messages, which were posted last year, and apologised.

He has shut his Facebook account and said he was considering resigning.

Mr Kitson said he did not “have a racist bone in my body – it’s just a bit of bloody stupidity”.
‘Really, really ill’

The UK Independence Party councillor is alleged to have shared, among other things, a cartoon of Muslim people being burnt at the stake with copies of the Koran fuelling the flames.

Mr Kitson, who said he had “several Muslim friends and Jamaican friends”, added: “I was saying, ‘look at this, it’s disgusting. People are looking at it now and seeing things differently.”

He also admitted posting a comment suggesting UKIP should work with other parties, including the BNP.

He added: “With hindsight I should not have done what I did, but I did it because I just didn’t agree with [those posts] and wanted other people to look and see if they agreed or didn’t agree.”

Mr Kitson said national attention over the issue had made him “feel really, really ill”.

He added that with hindsight he should have made it clear he disagreed with the things he was sharing.

He said: “I’m not a politician – I’m a bit of a fool really.”
Police contacted

A UKIP spokesperson said the party was investigating.

The spokesperson said the issue had been discussed at a meeting of the party’s national executive to establish how to conduct the investigation.
Worcestershire County Council The authority said councillors were expected to follow its code of conduct

The matter is being dealt with at a national level, not just with the local party in Worcestershire, the spokesperson said.

West Mercia Police confirmed the force had been contacted about the matter.

A spokesperson said police had “asked for further information to be supplied so that we can look at it properly”.

Worcestershire County Council’s head of legal and democratic services, Simon Mallinson, said he would avoid commenting on any individual case but elected members were expected to comply with the council’s code of conduct.

He added: “Any complaint that this code has been breached when acting in such a role will be carefully considered.”

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