UKIP councillor Paul Clapp, in charge of social care in Cambridgeshire, brands political rival ‘mentally ill’

Paul Clapp, chairman of adults committee, Cambridgeshire County Council

Paul Clapp, chairman of adults committee, Cambridgeshire County Council

The UKIP councillor now in charge of adult social care in Cambridgeshire is under fire for branding a political rival “mentally ill”.

Cllr Paul Clapp, chairman of the county council’s adults committee, made the slur in a standards complaint against Steve Tierney, a former cabinet member on the authority.

In the complaint, Cllr Clapp claimed Cllr Tierney, a member of Wisbech Town Council, had “done everything in his power to discredit” Cllr Alan Lay, who beat Cllr Tierney to the Roman Bank and Peckover county council seat last year.

The complaint focuses on an incident in which Cllr Tierney “thrust” his mobile phone at Cllr Lay to film him at a town council meeting.

Cllr Clapp, who represents Wisbech North, wrote: “What he is saying at the moment in my oppinion [sic] is at least slanderous and if this is how Cllr Tierney gets his kicks then in my oppinion [sic] he is mentally ill and should not be a part of Wisbech Town Council.”

Cllr Clapp’s comments have been criticised by Cllr Martin Curtis, the ex-county council leader, who said they “demeaned mental health as an issue”.

Cllr Curtis, who has submitted a standards complaint against Cllr Clapp, said: “I cannot see how the public can have confidence in an adults committee with Cllr Clapp as chairman, he should resign.

“If he doesn’t he should be told to resign by his group leader.”

Cllr Clapp declined to comment but Cllr Paul Bullen, the leader of the UKIP group, said he would keep the chairmanship.

Cllr Bullen said: “It was not the right choice of words to put in a standards complaint.

“Cllr Clapp is aware of this and regrets the wording used but doesn’t feel the complaint was unwarranted.”

The complaint comes after Cllr Gordon Gillick, another member of the UKIP group, was forced to apologise after he allegedly branded children in care “takers” from society.

A county council spokesman said: “The council has received a complaint about Cllr Paul Clapp. This is now being investigated and as such it would be inappropriate for the council to comment further.”

Cambridge News


Independent assessment finds UKIP councillor’s remarks to firefighters racist & derogatory

PL

A UKIP county councillor who described his sister to fire fighters as a ‘w**’, spoke of relatives who were ‘Mongols’ that had children with ‘slanty eyes’ has been condemned by an independent inquiry.

Cambridgeshire County Council said tonight that the independent member of its standards committee had reviewed a complaint against Councillor Peter Lagoda and found he had brought the council into disrepute.

Cllr Lagoda made the remarks during a visit to Wisbech fire station and a council statement said the review concluded that “the remarks by Cllr Lagoda could be interpreted by a reasonable person as racist, derogatory and discriminatory in nature”.

The statement added that the comments were “not acceptable in every day use. It was also the view of the independent person that Cllr Lagoda breached the members’ code of conduct of treating others with respect and bringing their office or authority into disrepute”.

The findings also made a “strong recommendation” that Cllr Lagoda – recently given a 12 month community order for a benefits offence- should write a “sincere apology” to Cambridgeshire Fire Authority.

The council statement added a further recommendation that Cllr Lagoda should attend training on equality and diversity issues.

“It was noted by the independent person that Cllr Lagoda did not dispute he had used the words but these were part of a private conversation and not in the public arena.

“It was also highlighted that the councillor had shown remorse and that the fire authority personnel had indicated the approach suggested by the independent person was acceptable to them.”

Cllr Lagoda always admitted to using the words but insisted they were in the context of a private conversation and that he must have been “misunderstood” by the firefighters.

He said after the incident had been reported: “Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes.

“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”

He denied his remarks were racist and said he had answered “honestly about my family and my roots. If I’m asked in future about my family I think I have learnt what to say- nothing.”

Labour MEP Richard Howitt said the remarks were “very shocking” and “deeply offensive”.

Ely Standard


Community order for UKIP’ councillor Peter Lagoda over benefit fraud

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

A UKIP councillor who admitted benefit fraud has been sentenced to a community order.

Cllr Peter Lagoda, who was elected to Cambridgeshire County Council in May, was made subject to the order for 12 months at Peterborough Crown Court after admitting making a false representation to gain benefits.

Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with then girlfriend and now wife, Maria Lagoda.

She was also sentenced to a 12-month community order after admitting six counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstances.

It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.

Lagoda was suspended from UKIP when he was charged but remains a councillor, representing Wisbech South.

The pair initially denied all the charges, which related to the period between June 2008 and November 2010, but changed their pleas last month.

Cambridge News


UKIP’s Councillor Peter Lagoda and wife Maria plead guilty to £25k benefit fraud

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

A UKIP county councillor and his wife have admitted swindling nearly £25,000 through benefit fraud.

Cllr Peter Lagoda, 59, and his wife Maria, also 59, today dramatically changed their plea to guilty at the start of their trial.

The pair had been accused of giving Fenland District Council a false address in a bid to claim extra benefits.

Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with his wife.

It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.

But despite originally pleading not guilty in April last year at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court the pair have now admitted all the charges against them.

Peterborough Crown Court heard how all the dishonesty had stretched for more than two years between June 2008 and November 2010.

Lagoda had been elected to represent Wisbech South on Cambridgeshire County Council in May last year.

But he was suspended from UKIP after being charged by Cambridgeshire Constabulary with the fraud.

The pair will now be sentenced on March 28 at the same court.

A council spokesman said: “Cllr Lagoda’s status as a councillor remains unchanged until the outcome of any sentencing hearing is known.

“As such it would be wrong for the authority to comment any further.”

Cambridge News


UKIP Distances Itself From Councillor Peter Lagoda Over ‘Disturbing Racist Language’

Peter Lagoda

Peter Lagoda

Ukip has been forced to distance itself from local councillor Peter Lagoda over “disturbing” remarks he made during an impromptu visit to a fire station in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

Lagoda, who was suspended by Ukip last year after being charged with benefit fraud, admitted to the Huffington Post UK that while in “private conversation” with the firefighters about his family, he described his north African sister as a “w*g” and his relatives living in Germany as “Mongols” who had children with “slanty eyes”.

“Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes,” Lagoda said in a telephone interview with HuffPost UK.

Despite being forced by the local Ukip group to write a letter of apology to the firefighters after his visit last month, Lagoda insisted that the furore was “ridiculous, over-the-top” and that the letter “shouldn’t have gone out”.

The Wisbech councillor, who is still listed as representing Ukip on the council website and remains a Ukip member, defended his remarks as the correct dictionary definitions and accused the firefighters of misunderstanding him.

“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”

The term “w*g”, described by most dictionaries as derogatory and offensive, usually refers to a dark-skinned or olive-skinned person from Africa and Asia, and is believed to be derived from the “golliwog” blackface minstrel doll.

Lagoda’s remarks about his “w*g” sister and “Mongol” relatives having children with “slanty eyes” have been condemned by local politicians.

Councillor Martin Curtis, Tory leader of Cambridgeshire County Council told HuffPostUK: “Of course this sort of language from county councillors horrifies me, what concerns me even more is how it fits into an increasingly disturbing picture about how poorly Wisbech is represented.

“As far as the County Council is concerned it is becoming clear that Wisbech is representational vacuum. The councillors are clearly more interested in causing controversy than they are in standing up and representing a very important market town.”

Tory Stephen Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, warned: “If racist language was used by a county councillor then it is deeply disturbing.”

A Ukip spokesperson made clear that the party takes the incident “very seriously indeed” but made clear: “Councillor Lagoda was suspended from the party before this incident occurred. He is not an acting councillor for Ukip now and he was not an acting councillor for UKIP at the time of this incident.”

Cllr Lagoda’s remarks during his visit to the fire station in January alongside current Ukip councillor Paul Clapp caused one of the firefighters to lodge an official complaint about being left feeling “uncomfortable”.

“I…should have challenged that language but thought it may be a generation thing and hopefully he wouldn’t repeat this type of language and I did not want to get into any arguments,” the firefighter wrote.

Lagoda, a former Conservative councillor, told the firefighters during his visit that he would help fight cuts aimed at the local fire station and thanked them for attending in a guard of honour for his father, who was an ex-firefighter.

This is not the first controversy Ukip has had to deal with about a politician’s remarks, after former MEP Godfrey Bloom caused outrage last year when he was recorded warning that foreign aid should not go to “bongo bongo land”.

The Huffington Post