It’s now emerged that Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Nick Hodges ( Plaid Cymru Baruc Ward Barry) – whom the council had announced earlier this week had been “censured” – is alleged to have made “homophobic comments “.
Initially the Vale Council had not publicly given any reason for the action taken against Cllr Hodges but now the full details of the matter have leaked out into the public domain.
A complaint was made against Cllr Hodges by a Conservative Vale Councillor Cllr Leighton Rowlands .
[Cllr Hodges is a Vale Councillor and is also Mayor of Barry. Cllr Rowlands – is Deputy Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan ].
Cllr Rowlands has now called on Plaid Leader Leanne Wood to investigate the alleged comments – which are said to have been made during a councillors’ training session on equalities – and in a meeting of the full Vale of Glamorgan Council in September.
Cllr Rowlands had alleged that in the training session – in which the possibility of compiling a list of list of people in the council who were gay or lesbian was suggested – Cllr Hodges had allegedly whispered to Cllr Rowlands “I don’t want a list of people and I’m sure you don’t want to be on a list” . That complaint by Cllr Rowlands against Cllr Hodges was dismissed by the independent inquiry (see adjudication below). It was found that “there was no basis to this aspect of the complaint”.
In the second allegation Cllr Rowlands had claimed that in September’s full council meeting, when a member was challenging an assertion about the number of gay MPs and AMs in the Conservative Party, Cllr Hodges had allegedly called out “Are you asking for volunteers?”
As reported yesterday by PDN, Cllr Hodges was “censured ” for making this remark following what the Vale Council described as “two Stage 3 hearings which took place before an Independent Member of the Standards Committee.”
A council statement added that “Low Level Allegations of Breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct are dealt with in accordance with the Local Dispute Resolution Procedure. In this instance there was found to be a basis to the complaints and Councillor Hodges has been censured.”
Cllr Rowlands – Deputy Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan – has said :- “It was really disheartening to hear a fellow councillor making such disparaging comments, and I think that the Leader of Plaid Cymru should consider whether there is a place for remarks of that nature in Plaid Cymru. It’s tough to open up about such a personal aspect of my life on such a public platform – but I made the decision to do so because I thought we’d moved on from such ignorance.It only goes to show the challenges we still in the LGBTQ* community in 2017.”
Cllr Rowlands went on to say in his statement “I know that the great majority of Barry residents have a much more accepting and progressive attitude towards homosexuality. It is a shame that an elected Councillor has failed to show that same respect.”
[* PDN Note : LGBTQ is an a recently-enlarged acronym which now adds the letter “Q” (standing for an adjective which was previously regarded as objectionable – “Queer“) to the previously better-known shorter acronym of “LBGT” . The full LBGTQ acronym is now recognised as standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer” and is “used to designate a community of people whose sexual or gender identities can create shared political and social concerns”] .