Wales

Cardiff homelessness: 'Clear tents' tweet councillor reinstated

Tents on a Cardiff street
Image caption Tory councillors said Cardiff's ruling Labour group also had misgivings about tents on the streets

A councillor who demanded the tearing down of homeless people's tents in Cardiff has been reinstated by the city council's Conservative group.

Kathryn Kelloway was suspended on Friday, after being branded "vile" and "inhuman" amid an outcry over a tweet.

The Welsh Conservatives said her comments did not reflect their views.

But the council's Tory group has readmitted her, saying it agreed the tents looked bad and deterred rough sleepers from seeking safe shelter.

In her social media post, Ms Kelloway urged city council leader Huw Thomas to "tear down these tents" if he sought safety, prosperity and a "better image" for Cardiff.

Former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas was among the critics, saying she made him "sick".

A spokeswoman for Cardiff's Conservative group said it recognised the comment "did not meet universal approval" but added that the tents should be removed "in line with current views held by Cardiff council".

Lynda Thorne, cabinet member for housing at the Labour-run authority, has also suggested the tents were putting homeless people "at risk", but rejected the tweet as "inflammatory" and "misguided".

Ms Kelloway said she was grateful for the support of her colleagues and stood by her comments, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"The provision for homeless people here is some of the best in the UK and the council deserve credit for that," she said.

"By the council's own admission, these tents are causing fewer homeless people to stay in hostels and receive proper support and medical help."

Cardiff homeless charity the Huggard said it was "appalling" to suggest the answer was to "tear down" the tents and said it did not support enforcement action.

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat councillor Joe Carter said his group was "shocked by the haste with which she has been welcomed back into the fold".

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