Statement - 18 January 2018

Taunton Deane Borough Council would like to make it clear that it disassociates the authority from comments made regarding same-sex marriage.

The comments were made by UKIP councillor Tom Aldridge at a meeting open to the public earlier this month during a debate on antisocial behaviour.

As soon as the meeting closed, the councillor was advised by the most senior officer present that the comments were "entirely inappropriate" and unacceptable.

He was reminded that all councillors are bound by a Code of Conduct with obligations around equalities legislation.  The matter has also been referred to the council’s Monitoring Officer.

Leader of Taunton Deane, Councillor John Williams, said: "These views do not reflect our council or its values in any way.  I am shocked that they were expressed in such a way and can only emphasise that Taunton Deane is inclusive and our council is proud of our diverse community.

"While individual councillors may have their own views, I cannot condone opinions such as this being aired at a public meeting that was discussing important issues affecting our community."

Other political Group Leaders joined to support the council’s stance.  Councillor Simon Coles, who leads the Liberal Democrat Group, said: "The regrettable views expressed at the meeting are not shared by members of my party and we do not support them.  We are inclusive and diverse."

Labour Group Leader Councillor Libby Lisgo said:  "The views expressed by Councillor Aldridge are out of date and abhorrent and don’t, I believe, represent the views of most people that he and I both represent in Lyngford."

Councillor Eddie Gaines, who leads the Independent group, said: "I was appalled by the comments – they certainly do not reflect our council and its beliefs and values."