A Grimsby councillor under fire for revealing “petrol bomb” threats at a heated public meeting said she was “only reporting what others said” on social media.
UKIP member for South Ward, Councillor Jane Bramley has sparked complaints to North East Lincolnshire Council from community group GATE Herts (Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment) and an All Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma alleging she was agitating community tension and that her comments could lead to inciting racial hatred.
Councillor Bramley told residents at the first gathering that the two locations put forward on the estate by North East Lincolnshire Council – on Wootton Road and Winchester venue – were “absolutely ridiculous” due to being either side of a new housing estate.
She said she had warned leaders there could be “World War Three” on the estate after reading comments on social media and hearing from residents regarding the suggestions – including that some were “already preparing petrol bombs.
Angry residents also said at the meeting they would make the potential tenants feel “very unwelcome” with some hinting at violent acts while others suggested more peaceful methods.
Defending her comments Councillor Bramley said she had only been reporting what others had said.
She said she did not condone violence, but added that she “could not be held responsible” for what others were saying on social media.
“I have stated all along that if anybody says they’re going to use violence I really am against it,” she told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines.
“I told the residents. I can’t be held responsible for what they do or say, those are comments all over social media – they’re not by me personally.”
“Social media is such a noisy thing anybody can write anything. It doesn’t mean they are going to do it. I can’t be held responsible for what people are writing or saying.”
She repeated previous calls for all parties discuss the issues and said she had told a further meeting, held last night (Wednesday, October 30), the same thing.
“We should all get round the table to discuss where they [the traveller community] would like to go, where we have space for them and come up with a compromise so the situation can be resolved and we can all be happy.”
“They tried to put it in the wrong place, that’s all I was saying, that’s the top and tail of it. In the middle of a deprived housing estate is not the answer,” she said.
She said she did not know if the comments had been reported to police, and if not, did not know why.
At the meeting, she promised her residents she would continue to fight for them.
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