Bob Murray declined to comment when approached by BBC Wales
A councillor has been suspended from the Labour Party over a Facebook post saying “Hitler had the right idea” about travellers.The post was sent from the account of Prestatyn’s Bob Murray on the page of fellow councillor Paul Penlington.Mr Penlington called the post “vile”, while a Gypsy rights group said it was a hate crime.The Labour Party said complaints about discriminatory and threatening language were taken “extremely seriously”. Denbighshire council has referred the matter to the Public Service Ombudsman. Mr Murray, a councillor for the Prestatyn South West ward who will sit as an independent following his suspension, told BBC Wales he had no comment to make.The comment, circulated on Twitter, said: “Hitler had the right idea” and asked if anyone had any “gas canisters”.It had been posted on a Facebook thread started by fellow Prestatyn councillor Mr Penlington about a group of travellers.He said the post was “a vile racist statement” and contacted council bosses immediately when he was alerted to the post, which he deleted.Brexit blamed for ‘poisonous’ debates
The comment was deleted, according to Mr Murray’s colleague
He told the Local Democracy Service: “I put a post on Facebook informing residents of Denbighshire council’s sensible response to a small group of travellers in my ward.”I only stated the facts to avoid any misinterpretation as this can be a contentious subject for many people.”I am absolutely nauseated by the post and quite upset really that my good name has been drawn into this.”Brexit blamed for ‘poisonous’ Senedd
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Trudy Aspinwall, of Travelling Ahead, a traveller, Roma and Gypsy rights group, said: “These appalling comments published on an online public platform are a hate crime.”It would be absolutely unacceptable to say this publicly about any other group, and it’s particularly concerning if this comes from a publicly-elected representative who has a role in decision making about local plans to improve services for this community.”‘Fully investigated’Labour said it could not comment on individual cases, but complaints such as these “are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken”.The office for the ombudsman, Nick Bennett, confirmed he had received a complaint concerning whether Mr Murray had breached the council’s code of conduct. A spokesman said: “The complaint will be assessed before a decision is taken on whether the matter should be investigated.”Denbighshire council said it could not comment, other than to say the matter had been referred to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales for consideration.