Ex-mayor Marjorie Snowden told to say sorry for racist slur
A former mayor accused of describing “all Muslims as terrorists” during an equality training session has been ordered to apologise.
Marjorie Snowden, aged 85, failed to turn up at the standards committee hearing on Wednesday night into a report that made the claims, which also alleged Mrs Snowden asked: “Why should we be interested in black history?”
Mrs Snowden, twice Mayor of Sherborne and still a town and West Dorset district councillor, denied the allegations and rang an hour before the hearing to say she would not attend.
After hearing the evidence, councillors also ordered Mrs Snowdon to send a written apology to Sue Bickle, a community development team leader and lead for equalities.
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Last night Mrs Snowden said: “I am making no comment, and the whole issue is in the hands of my solicitor.”
Investigating officer Roger Greene presented a report which recommended she had breached the code of conduct relating to lack of respect after two complaints were made.
Sue Bickle, community development team leader and lead officer for equalities, and Molly Rennie, a district councillor for Dorchester, filed the complaints which Mrs Snowden denies as “completely unfounded”.
The allegations relate to an equalities and diversity training session held at West Dorset District Council on June 28, 2012, which Mrs Snowden attended as a district councillor.
Complainant Ms Bickle, who ran the session, alleged Mrs Snowden made deliberate attempts to disrupt the training.
In the report she alleged: “Councillor Snowden made remarks which were clearly hostile to the Muslim community and bordering on religious hatred, identifying all Muslims as terrorists.”
Ms Bickle also alleged Mrs Snowden asked: “Why should we be interested in black history?”
She said: “I struggled to complete the session feeling extremely bullied, victimised and vulnerable.”
In the report, complainant Mrs Rennie said: “I found the behaviour offensive. We have seen this before from this member. I spoke with another member about this who understood but just said, ‘Well that’s Marjorie’.”
Responding to the complaints in a questionnaire, Mrs Snowden said: “I do not accept the criticisms or allegations made against me.
“Ms Bickle unfortunately is incompetent as a trainer and was not suited to dealing with the session I attended. I am afraid the truth does hurt. The session is a waste of council taxpayers’ money. My comments at all times were personal from me and I believed them to be true.”