NEIL Hamilton MS has called for a Swansea Labour councillor to apologise and resign for comments she made at a meeting. The Mid and West Wales Senedd member has even asked Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, to intervene.
It follows a council committee meeting on July 21 in which Cllr Lesley Walton said she had felt like punching a man who claimed politicians examining street names and monuments with links to slavery were reacting to Black Lives Matter “hysteria”.
She also described a group called Leavers of Swansea, who alleged the council had already made decisions on street names, as “vile, racist bigots” who had got it wrong.
In a video posted on Twitter, which included footage from the committee meeting, UKIP’s Mr Hamilton asked if politicians should be able to punch people.
“That was Swansea Labour councillor Lesley Walton, who gets angry if you disagree with her, and she thinks she’s got the right to punch you if you take a different view to her on an issue which is divisive,” said Mr Hamilton.
He added: “We have got the mob online, we have got the mob on the streets, and now we have got the mob mentality in the council chamber.”
Mr Hamilton asked what Mr Starmer would do about Cllr Walton, who represents Townhill.
“Is he going to suspend her?” he said. “Is he going to get her expelled from the Labour Party for threatening violence against constituents?”
Cllr Walton, who has tweeted in the past for political parties to hold their politicians to account if they used violent or threatening language, has apologised.
She said she had been speaking passionately about “a very important subject”.
She claimed certain individuals “had spread misinformation” about the council’s intentions in passing a Black Lives Matter motion which inferred that decisions had already been made when she said this was untrue.
She said: “I apologise if any of the words I used were inappropriate and caused unwarranted offence. I was making an emotional point and stand by my beliefs as expressed and the need for equality for all.”
Following the meeting, Leavers of Swansea, which describes itself as a pro-Brexit Swansea leavers’ movement, called for Cllr Walton to resign.
Complaints were also made to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Leavers of Swansea want to be represented on the committee which is exploring Swansea’s geography and institutions to see whether any names or images should be removed, amended or displayed differently.
Dan Morgan, of Leavers of Swansea, described Cllr Walton’s comments as “simply staggering”.
“We have been in Townhill and no-one we came across defends their councillor’s actions,” he said.
Swansea Labour leader Rob Stewart said it “was right” that individuals or organisations were challenged if they were to make untrue statements or post or share offensive material.
Cllr Stewart said he knew of female councillors who felt harassed and were being subjected to misinformation campaigns, and that he had spoken to South Wales Police on the matter.
“This must stop immediately,” he said.