Cornwall

Cornwall councillor John Dyer accused of 'advocating rape'

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Media captionJohn Dyer made the comment about at a public meeting streamed online

A councillor who told a meeting "If a lady says no, she means perhaps," has been accused of "advocating rape".

Cornwall Conservative John Dyer, who went on to say "if a lady says perhaps she means yes", has been condemned by colleagues and campaigners.

Labour councillor Hanna Toms said the comments were "prehistoric and offensive" and called on Mr Dyer to consider his position.

Mr Dyer called the row "a storm in a teacup" but has now apologised.

Speaking at the strategic planning meeting, Mr Dyer said: "I'm very fond of the old saying that if a lady says no she means perhaps, if a lady says perhaps she means yes, but if a lady says yes, she's no lady."

The 72-year-old former vice-chairman of Cornwall Council made the comments while expressing his frustration at agenda items being withdrawn at short notice.

'Horrified and disgusted'

John Keeling, chairman of the Conservative Group at Cornwall Council, said he was temporarily removing Mr Dyer from the strategic planning committee while the matter was investigated.

If a lady says no, she means perhaps

John Dyer
Cornwall Council
Image copyright Miles Davis

But Ms Toms said she was "absolutely horrified and disgusted".

She said: "Perhaps Mr Dyer needs to understand that what he is advocating in this comment when taken to its logical conclusion is rape."

Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall at about 13:30 BST Mr Dyer said: "I regret having said it and profusely apologise for having said it."

Possible investigation

Sarah Green, from the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said public figures "should be leading the fight to change these views, not trivialising them".

She said: "In our courts, in our communities and even among family and friends, women and girls are still judged according to these views which say women do not really mean 'no' and which imply that women lie about rape."

The leader of the Independent-Liberal Democrat coalition authority, John Pollard, said the comments from Mr Dyer were "totally unacceptable and are inconsistent with the standards expected of a Cornwall Councillor".

He said: "I understand that an investigation into this matter could be carried out by the council's monitoring officer under the authority's code of conduct procedure."

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