UK Politics

MP Tim Loughton 'sacks' constituent after racism row

Conservative MP Tim Loughton has said he will no longer respond to any communication from a constituent who accused him of being racist.

In a Commons debate, the former children's minister said a constituent had "worked tirelessly to try to make my life hell".

"I am sacking [him] as my constituent," because of serial abuse, he said.

Mr Loughton said he had been given permission to swear in the Commons to help him explain the situation fully.

He told MPs that the constituent had called him an "arrogant, racist, lying arsehead", and published "creatively doctored photographs" on his blog.

One image depicted the former children's minister "toting a smoking gun in a playground full of screaming, fleeing children", he said.

"He once stormed out of my surgery accusing me of being 'an effing Nazi'," Mr Loughton added.

'Poisonous'

"Our constituents have the power to sack us at general elections - quite rightly so. We, alas, do not have the power to sack them," he told the Commons.

"I would like to take this opportunity now, Mr Speaker, to put it on record that I will not be responding to any communications" from him "in the future and my staff have been instructed to put the phone down on him."

He was "sacking" the man "as my constituent, and I hope that he gets the message without my having to resort to legal means".

The debate was prompted by the aftermath of Mr Loughton's decision to criticise the constituent for complaining that his local council had described him as "unkempt".

In the email to the constituent, the MP for Worthing East and Shoreham had referred to the "whingeing self-serving poisonous bollocks that seems to have become your hallmark" and said the word unkempt was "eminently accurate".

"Uniquely in almost 16 years of being a constituency MP, but probably unwisely, I let my true feelings get the better of me," Mr Loughton told MPs.

The constituent contacted the police, alleging that the email was "racist", because he is "of Romany Gypsy origin".

Mr Loughton said "surely, if anything, it would be the act of identifying the term with Romany Gypsies that could be construed as racist" but that was down to his constituent "not me".

But Sussex Police began an investigation, interviewing the MP for 90 minutes under caution on suspicion of sending a malicious communication, and it was more than six months before he was informed that no further action would be taken.

He told MPs he would now make a formal complaint against the force and also criticised Chief Constable Martin Richards' handling of his grievance.

"Anyone with any common sense could have seen there was no basis to this case, from a serial complainer well versed in making malicious and vexatious complaints," he said.

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