Disgraced councillor allowed back into Tory group after 16 days

Councillor Nigel Legg

District councillor Nigel Legg will have to make a public apology as a condition of his re-entry to the Conservative group. - Credit: Submitted

A councillor who branded people in affordable homes as “feral youths” and “neighbours from hell” has been readmitted to the council’s Conservative group after a 16-day suspension.

But a condition of his return saw him ordered to make a public apology for his remarks, with party colleagues also voting to formally disapprove of his conduct.

In the private WhatsApp chat of the ruling Conservative group on South Norfolk Council, member Nigel Legg said on October 22: "I have never understood the mad rush for affordable homes.

“The latest housing estate in Mulbarton had become a ghetto before it was finished with gangs of fetal [sic] youths causing mayhem.

“Who wants to buy a house next door to the neighbours from hell.

“And where do all these people come from? They can’t all be local. Housing estates in Norwich? They are unlikely to vote for us.”

Screenshots of the messages, which caused outrage from fellow members, were included in a comprehensive report by South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller, authored for his Conservative colleagues and leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). 

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller had authored a report summarising the situation for his Conservative colleagues. The report was leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. - Credit: Rose Sapey

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In accordance with the party’s rules, Mr Legg was suspended on October 26 for up to 21 days or until the next group meeting, which was held on the evening of Thursday, November 11. 

At that meeting, the group allowed his suspension to expire, but voted to pass a motion of censure against him.  

Mr Legg’s apology reads: “I understand and accept that comments I made in a recent Conservative Group meeting were ill-chosen and do not represent the views of myself or South Norfolk Council. I would like to apologise unreservedly.

“I have been a local doctor looking after the health and mental wellbeing of the community for more than 25 years and I have also served as a local councillor representing every member of my ward for 14 of those years.

“I have always been committed to every patient and every constituent and have treated them all with equal respect and would once again like to apologise if my comments have caused anyone any upset or offence.”

The group’s chairman, councillor Barry Duffin, said the council had a proud record of delivering affordable homes.

Barry Duffin, left, and Rik Martin on a strip of Norfolk Poor's Land at Ashwellthorpe. Photo: Bill S

Councillor Barry Duffin, chair of the Conservative group on South Norfolk Council - Credit: Bill Smith

“The numbers show that South Norfolk Council’s policy of ensuring residents have a choice of affordable housing options has resulted in hundreds of families getting the keys to their own front door,” said Mr Duffin.

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