Norfolk

Tory councillor suspended over lewd comments to hunt protester

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Media captionCharles Carter was accosted by Linda Hoggard, who had been following the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire

A Conservative councillor has been suspended after making "inappropriate and offensive comments" to an anti-hunt protester.

A video streamed online shows a confrontation between West Norfolk Foxhounds master and huntsman Charles Carter and campaigner Linda Hoggard.

During the recording, Mr Carter is seen to ask "can I take to you bed, please?"

The leader of Breckland Council in Norfolk confirmed his suspension. An investigation is under way.

Mr Carter made the comments after an approach by activists during a meet of the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire.

Ms Hoggard said she had been taking wildlife photos before seeing the hunt and then following it for several hours.

In the video, Ms Hoggard approaches the riders and stops Mr Carter, saying: "Excuse me, did you know fox hunting was banned?"

Mr Carter then removes his phone from his pocket and asks: "What is your name?"

When Ms Hoggard does not respond, he tells her: "I'd quite like to shag you, actually."

Image copyright Linda Hoggard
Image caption Charles Carter has represented Saham Toney ward, on Breckland council, since 2011

'Out of order'

The activist reacts by threatening to tell her husband.

Mr Carter then says: "Can I take to you bed, please?" and tells her: "You're very pretty." Ms Hoggard replies: "So are foxes."

Mr Carter finally asks for her number before riding off with the rest of the hunt.

Ms Hoggard told the BBC: "I've always disagreed with fox hunting even being a country person. I'm not an activist - the last hunt I followed was 15 years ago. I'm a housewife with children and they were hunting near me and I thought right I'm going to follow.

"I didn't know he was a councillor. I didn't even know him. I just went out and then confronted him. What he gave me was bang out of order."

The nature of the meeting is not known, however under the 2004 Hunting Act, foxes cannot longer be killed by dogs as part of a hunt.

One or two dogs can be used to "flush out" - remove from cover - a fox, which should then be shot.

Image copyright Breckland Council
Image caption Charles Carter has been suspended from Breckland Council for the comments

Mr Carter has represented Saham Toney ward, on Breckland Council in West Norfolk, since 2011.

In a statement a spokesman confirmed the council was aware of the video "in which one of its councillors made inappropriate and offensive comments".

Council leader William Nunn said: "I was appalled by the conduct of one of my Conservative councillors, who has clearly brought the party and the council into disrepute as a result of his behaviour.

"I immediately took action, and the individual concerned has been suspended from the Conservative Group at Breckland council, pending the outcome of a full investigation by the Mid Norfolk Conservative Association."

The BBC has approached Mr Carter for comment.

Image copyright Twitter

By Patrick Evans, UGC and Social News Hub

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