Coventry & Warwickshire

WhatsApp race row Coventry councillor resigns

Glenn Williams Coventry City Council Image copyright Coventry City Council
Image caption Glenn Williams made a series of comments on immigration and multiculturalism to a party colleague

A councillor in Coventry has resigned from the Conservative party after saying non-English speakers were "taking over" the country and should "go home".

Glenn Williams, who represents Bablake ward, told a colleague on WhatsApp he did not "believe in multiculturalism".

He described Enoch Powell as a "personal hero" and said if Turkey joined the EU the UK would be "overrun with kebab shops".

He claimed the comments were "banter".

More on this and other stories from Coventry and Warwickshire

Following the publication of the conversation in the Coventry Telegraph, which came days after he contributed to a racism debate at a full council meeting, Labour councillor and Coventry Council leader George Duggins called on Mr Williams to resign.

The Conservative Party had planned to meet to discuss disciplinary action before he resigned.

'Not a racialist'

Mr Williams wrote to the party to apologise, but has since defended his comments.

"What I said was in a private conversation with another member of the Conservatives who I thought was a friend, and when you're talking sometimes with friends late at night you do say things in a different sort of way," he told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.

"I hope that any resident, any member of staff at the council, or anyone I've met would say, having known me for more than five minutes, that I'm not anything like a racialist or anything like that.

"I've only ever treated people with respect."

Mr Williams said he would continue to represent his constituents as an independent councillor until the next election, which will take place in 2020.

"I'm still going to be working as hard as I can for those residents, because there's still a lot to do," he said.

A council spokesman said Mr Williams is able to continue as an elected member.

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