Tory councillor suspended over ‘Pride sex flags’ rant refuses to back down

Angela Kilmartin

Tory councillor Angela Kilmartin has been suspended by her party after condemning Pride flags as “sex flags” and saying she didn’t want them on her local high street.

The 81-year-old Witham town and Braintree district councillor took to Facebook last week to post that she didn’t want any “sex flags” on her local high street.

The Witham Constituency Conservative Association told PinkNews: “Witham Conservatives were recently made aware of comments posted on social media by a councillor in relation to Pride flags. 

“In consultation with the Council Group, the councillor in question has been suspended from the Conservative Group pending a full investigation.”

The comment was written on March 15 in response to a post from a person who had brought Pride flags for Witham businesses to feature in their shop windows.

Kilmartin, who served as Witham town council’s mayor in 2021-22, wrote in response to the post: “I don’t want pride sex flags along my High Street. I don’t even want heterosexual flags along my high street.

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“Sex is for the bedroom and private life, not for displaying preferences in public.”

Witham town council’s Conservative leader, Michael Lager, said: “We dissociate ourselves totally from the reported remarks from this particular member. 

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“We do not tolerate discrimination between people of different faiths, beliefs and all the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010, that we respect and promote.”

Angela Kilmartin’s conduct investigated 

Braintree District Council confirmed it had been made aware of Kilmartin comments.

A spokesperson for the council told PinkNews: “These views are not those of Braintree District Council as a corporate body and as such, we disown them.

“We are disappointed to hear of this post as Braintree District Council have policies to promote equal and fair treatment for all.

“The council celebrates and supports the diversity of the district and we recognise this within our own organisation and in everything we do.”

The spokesperson said councillors and staff are expected to reflect the council’s desire to celebrate and support diversity.

They added: “There are a number of separate code of conduct issues that we’re also looking into and working on.

“Further we are aware that Cllr Kilmartin has been suspended from the Conservative Group pending their own investigation into the matter.”

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Kilmartin stands by comments made

Kilmartin defended her comments and stated that she had commented under her own name, not as a councillor.

She added: “Another contributor picked it up after some time but it remains the fact that I did not comment as a councillor. 

“My own personal comment remains online along with detractors and others. Hundreds of well-wishers have been in touch through a variety of media.

“I am sure that all the townspeople of Witham value democratic freedoms within the law – I do.”

Kilmartin told the BBC she stood by her comments but said “if shop owners want to put up flags, they can”.

She said she would step down as a town councillor ahead of upcoming local elections on 4 May. 

PinkNews has reached out to Angela Kilmartin for comment.

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