A councillor who suggested an alleged victim of a rape in Plumstead was “likely” to be a sex worker has apologised for his comments.
Bromley Council voted to condemn the comments of Shaun Slator, who was elected as a Conservative in St Mary Cray ward last year, after he replied to a tweet from a news website on New Year’s Eve reporting the alleged incident in Villas Road.
In his reply, which has since been deleted, Slator wrote: “More likely that it’s a punter that didn’t pay.”
Slator apologised for his comments at a council meeting saying he intended to highlight the issue of women being exploited in Plumstead.
He said: “I’m not ashamed to admit that I am fallible, and I have made a mistake. I now understand that with the privilege afforded to me as a councillor to better serve my community, comes a responsibility to reflect more deeply on what I say and post online.”
Before becoming a councillor in Bromley, Slator used to regularly comment on issues in Plumstead on social media. 853 understands he retains close links with the area.
Colin Smith, Bromley Council’s leader, said Slator remained a member of the Conservative Party after his “thoroughly thoughtless” comment, but had been suspended from the Bromley Conservative group.
The council leader said at the meeting: “It’s the sort of thing that happens when people have brain freezes for a moment. It’s beyond the pale. To his credit, he has apologised, and that is one of the conditions I have laid down for Shaun’s potential rehabilitation in this group. Shaun also needs to undertake certain training to evidence to me that he has fully learned his lesson.”
Alisa Igoe, a Labour councillor for Plaistow, asked Smith why it had taken Slator so long to apologise. Smith said Slator had wanted to apologise to the whole council.
Graeme Casey, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bromley Town, said: “I’m shocked that people are trying to make excuses for [Cllr Slator’s comments] and talk around it because all I am hearing is ‘but’, nothing but ‘but’. It’s inexcusable.
“I appreciate Councillor Slator’s apology tonight, and I do believe that it is meant wholeheartedly, but I’m very disappointed at what I have heard otherwise.”
Slator that he had deactivated his Twitter account and has since enrolled himself on a course about interacting online.
Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain
Joe Coughlan is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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