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  1. ITV Report

Mayor forced to apologise for 'mongols' remark says he was just trying to understand disabled sex lives

Swindon mayor Nick Martin has apologised for making offensive remarks. Photo: Swindon Borough Council

A Swindon mayor who was forced to apologise for referring to disabled people as "mongols" has told ITV News that he was trying to ask a valid question about their sex lives.

Conservative councillor Nick Martin was reprimanded after Labour councillors at a training meeting reported him saying: "Are we still letting mongols have sex with each other?"

The mayor, who was criticised by disability charity Scope over the remarks, explained that he had been attempting to learn about issues affecting people with Down's syndrome.

Councillor Martin told ITV News today:

I was trying to understand whether we assist those people to procreate.

I'm fortunate in that I have two healthy sons. They may get married and have children. But if I had a disabled child, I don't know what would happen.

I was just trying to comprehend something. But I'm not going to ask again. It's safer for me not to understand. I'll stay in ignorance.

Martin, who was found guilty of breaching Swindon Council's code of conduct, accepted that his choice of words had been "wrong".

"I happened to use an old-fashioned word. I should have used the modern 'Down's syndrome'. I'm over 60 and I made a mistake," he said.

He added: "My mistake was to ask it in front of Labour councillors."

When asked whether he was keen to engage directly with charities to learn more about disability issues, Martin said he "wouldn't want to go down that road".