The Mayor of Boston has said he will not be resigning after coming under fire from councillors over alleged offensive and anti-Muslim posts on Facebook.
Councillors on Boston Borough Council voted by a margin of 21 to two to support a motion from council leader Michael Cooper calling for Councillor Brian Rush’s resignation at a meeting on Monday, February 12.
Members also supported an amendment to the motion calling for all administrative support for his activities as mayor to be withdrawn.
However, Councillor Rush, the 483rd Mayor of Boston, told Lincolnshire Reporter: “I’m still the Mayor of Boston.
“I haven’t seen any good reason to resign. It’s not as if I’ve been sacked from anything.”
The mayor slammed councillors for calling the meeting, describing it as a “kangaroo court”.
He said: “Frankly it’s a shame it had to come to this. Why didn’t anyone speak to me before the meeting, sit me down and explain the problems they had with what I said?
“It’s been totally mishandled and very expensive for the taxpayers of Boston.”
Councillor Rush also clarified comments he had made criticising colleagues, county councillors in Boston and the town’s MP Matt Warman.
He also categorically denied he was a racist after alleged anti-Muslim comments were included in the motion.
He said: “People need to stop being so sensitive. I’m a strong sort of speaker. This is the cut and thrust of politics.
“I have no problem with Muslim people in Britain. What I said about new entrants taking an oath of allegiance was very similar to Dame Louise Casey and no-one had an issue with what she said.
“However, councillors deemed it to be a racialist slur.
“What I’d say to people is come down with me to the Muslim community of Horncastle Road. The Muslim community have been asking for councillors to take notice of them. I have been to meet them, visit them, engage with them. This is exactly what they want.
“This mayor loves the town of Boston.”
At the meeting on Monday night, Councillor Rush received plenty of support from members of the council, some of whom shouted “disgusting” and “shame on you” while senior councillors spoke in support of the motion.
The mayor also received support inside the chamber, from deputy mayor Councillor Barrie Pierpoint.
Councillor Pierpoint said the motion had wasted people’s time and demeaned the council, claiming it was a personal attack on the mayor.
UKIP member Councillor Anton Dani spoke in favour of the mayor, saying he treated Councillor Rush like a dad. He said: “Councillor Rush has never been a racist person.”
Boston Borough Council leader Michael Cooper said that he brought forward the petition as he said that the mayor “has not been apolitical as he should be”.
He said: “He accused councillors of being dummies, of not doing anything, he was very critical of county councillors in Boston and the town’s MP.”
Conservative councillors Aaron Spencer, who was one of five councillors who initially signed the motion, Michael Brookes and Jonathan Noble all said that they considered Councillor Rush as a personal friend, but said he had not been apolitical as mayor.
Labour councillor Paul Gleeson said: “What he’s doing is putting at risk the system of an apolitical mayor. There was a very tasteless anti-Muslim post.
“We cannot have a mayor slandering councillors.”
Councillor Alison Austin, an Independent, said the comments were an “underhand, covert form of bullying,” saying he had “demeaned the office of mayor”.