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Ian Stokes returns to Conservative group of South Kesteven District Council five months after racist comment

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A Tory councillor who made a racist remark during a public meeting has been absolved after spending five months removed from the party.

Ian Stokes resigned as from his role as vice chairman of South Kesteven District Council and was stripped of his Conservative membership in November 2021.

His choice of words - an expression making reference to a woodpile - sparked protests, calls for extra training, and an investigation into his conduct.

Coun Ian Stokes
Coun Ian Stokes

A review into his actions recommended several sanctions against Coun Stokes, including asking him to make a further apology and attend equality and diversity training.

A spokesman for the Conservative Group at the council said Coun Stokes had formally apologised in front of a meeting of the full council and had undertaken equality and diversity training.

He now has the Conservative Whip restored and the council’s website has been updated to reflect this.

In a statement, Coun Stokes said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for using such inappropriate language, I regret it unreservedly and it was a mistake.

“I am privileged to be a district councillor representing Peascliffe and Ridgeway ward, and I will continue to work with local residents and support those in need to the best of my ability.”

Coun Amanda Wheeler (Lib Dem aligned with Ind - Stamford St George's), a campaigner for equalities and diversity training at the council and a critic of Coun Stokes’ actions, said she was “not surprised” by the decision.

“It’s not for me to decide who the party has as their representative but it’s not a party I would ever wish to join,” she said. “But, it’s up to the voters at the next local elections whether they think he’s fit to serve them as councillor, we’ll have to let them be the judge of that.”

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