A Conservative councillor who suggested an alleged rape victim was likely to have been a sex worker has been thrown out of the party.
Shaun Slator, who represents St Mary Cray ward on Bromley Council, was suspended from the party in January he replied to a tweet from a regional news outlet on New Year’s Eve reporting the alleged incident in Villas Road.
Slator wrote: “More likely that it’s a punter that didn’t pay.”
Bromley Council looked into the matter after receiving 18 complaints, but decided not to punish Slator as he was not acting in his capacity as a councillor at the time. An independent investigator said they were “agonised” about their conclusion, but said that the matter would be better dealt with by his political party.
Last month Bromley’s Conservative leader, Colin Smith, said he would allow Slator back into his party group after he had undergone training about interacting online.
But now the national party has decided to expel him. Slator will continue to sit as an independent councillor.
A Conservative Party spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The Conservative Party has an established code of conduct and formal processes where complaints can be made in confidence. This process is rightly confidential. Following the conclusion of this process, Cllr Slator has been expelled.”
Slator has apologised for his comments, saying he intended to highlight the issue of women being exploited in the area.
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.
Slator said at a council meeting last month that he had deleted his Twitter account. 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.”
Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain
Joe Coughlan is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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