Tory councillor in Thanet left homophobic message on bisexual colleague’s voicemail

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The person who left a homophobic voicemail message on a bisexual councillor’s phone in Thanet District Council has been identified as a Tory fellow-councillor, which has led the police to caution him for malicious communications.

Ten days ago, John Warrow, an Independent councillor at the District Council, had said that someone had left a hateful message on his phone, saying, ‘with a bit of luck, you’ll get AIDS.’

Mr Worrow, who is bisexual, had believed that it might have been linked to the Council voting to support equal marriage, only the second in England to do so after Southwark.

Now, the person who left this message has been identified as a Conservative colleague of Mr Worrow’s, Ken Gregory, who, subsequent to a police investigation has been cautioned for malicious communication. Mr Gregory has also been suspended from the Thanet Council Conservative group.

Mr Worrow told the BBC: “As Mr Gregory cannot possibly remain a member of the Conservative Party or a member of Thanet District Council after saying ‘With a bit of luck you’ll get Aids’, I feel that a caution should be punishment enough,” adding, “My colleagues and I hope that this has not triggered a hate campaign.”

He also said that there was ‘absolutely no justification whatsoever for that kind of behaviour towards anyone regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexuality,’ and that he expected a full apology at the next council meeting.

Tory Councillor Bob Bayford, shadow leader of the hung council, issued a statement which said:

It has come to my attention that Councillor Ken Gregory has received a police caution for an offence against another council member.

“The Thanet District Council Conservative group demands the highest standards of conduct from its members and I have decided to suspend group membership from Councillor Gregory with immediate effect, pending further consideration of the situation.”

Activists from Thanet Pride, a local campaign group, said this demonstrated how ignorant the councillor was on HIV/AIDS. Paul Rollins, head of the group, said: “I find it appalling that an elected representative would use a cowardly and illegal phone message to try to get some strange point across.”

There has been no response from Mr Gregory himself on the matter.

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