Tory chairman in a pickle over councillor who shared racist ‘joke’
Watch: Brandon Lewis was grilled about the behaviour of Rosemary Carroll
Last week’s local elections saw the Conservatives suffer a shock loss in Richmond, where the Liberal Democrats won 37 seats and slashed the number of Tory councillors to seven.
But perhaps the most damaging performance for the Tories was in Pendle - where the local party thought it was a good idea to readmit former councillor Rosemary Carroll so that it could take control of Lancashire council. She had previously been suspended after sharing a so-called joke on Facebook that compared Asian people to dogs.
Asked on the Andrew Marr show about the decision to let Carroll back, business secretary Greg Clark said he didn’t know the details of the case but was “sure the party authorities will have to investigate that”.
Over on Ridge on Sunday, it was down to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis to try to explain what the hell had happened in Pendle.
Alas, the best that the Tory chairman could come up with was that Carroll had “accidentally posted something she wanted to delete”.
And then it got worse.
Having suggested that Carroll was not really a racist after all, Lewis then confused matters by repeatedly stressing that the non-racist councillor had been sent on “diversity training”.