Downham Market town council votes to keep councillor who compared colleagues to Nazis

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray

A controversial deputy mayor has been allowed to keep his job, despite recommendations he should be removed for a tirade of insults and abuse at fellow councillors and the public.

Douglas Lawson, of Downham Market town council in Norfolk, had made Facebook posts referring to fellow members as 'dipstick', 'the beige nodding dog', 'Tweedle Doo Doo' and 'Tweedle Dumber'.

He even likened some of them to Nazis.

West Norfolk council's standards committee upheld three complaints against him over the posts.

But in an extraordinary meeting this week, the town council voted against removing Mr Lawson from committees.

Instead members voted in favour of censuring Mr Lawson and requiring him to undergo ethics and standards training.

In February this year the Mayor walked out after announcing her resignation. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"The council have made a very big mistake," said Simon Gomes Da Costa, a former Downham Market town councillor.

"He should be removed or he should be asked to leave with immediate effect. He is a disgrace," he added.

The town's former mayor Jenny Groom told ITV News Anglia added: "I just feel for Downham Market because by not following the recommendations of the panel the town council are actually condoning his behaviour and his behaviour has been appalling."

In February the mayor and deputy mayor walked out after announcing their resignation along with six others along with the town clerk.

A joint resignation letter blamed Mr Lawson.

But he is contesting the findings and said he would be referring the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

He called the Standards Committee no better than a "kangaroo court" which had taken into account private social media comments while ignoring his evidence.

He added he would be taking legal action against some of the people who had complained about his behaviour - and against the borough council for defaming him.

Speaking to ITV News Anglia in February Mr Lawson suggested the claims were "Jackanory".

He said: "There's a lot of fiction, a lot of false accusations and I don't actually recognise any of that."

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