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Harlow MP demands Labour councillor resigns after “It’s like beating your wife” comment

News / Thu 18th Jan 2018 at 12:18pm

Mik eD

THE MP for Harlow has demanded the resignation of a senior Labour councillor after he compared a poll by a police commissioner to “beating your wife”.

Robert Halfon has also asked for an apology from the manager of the Harlow District Chamber of Commerce, Ian Hudson, who described the comment (in his personal twitter account) as a “figure of speech”.

Robert Halfon rose on the floor of the House of Commons during Business Questions (on Thursday morning) and asked the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom an “urgent question”.

Mr Halfon asked: “My honourable friend will know of tragic and fatal cases in my own constituency of Harlow. Sadly, yesterday, a senior Labour councillor, Mike Danvers, made a joke about beating one’s wife which incredibly was supported as a ‘colloquialism’ by the manager of Harlow District Chamber of Commerce.

Does she not agree that we should condemn this, that the councillor should resign, the Manager of the Harlow Chamber of Commerce should apologise and that we must be sensitive about domestic violence?”

In response, the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom MP, replied, “There is no joke, nothing funny, and nothing at all amusing about domestic violence, and I certainly agree with him that particularly people in public life need to be extremely careful about the jokes that they make.”

The Leader of the House offered her reassurance that the Government is committed to stamping out domestic violence and will be introducing a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

The demand came after an interview the portfolio holder for Finance, Cllr Danvers gave to YourHarlow on Wednesday lunchtime regarding the proposed budget for 2018/19.

Cllr Danvers questioned whether the proposed increase in council tax made by the Police and Fire Commissioner, Roger Hirst, had been democratic. When YH pointed out that Mr Hirst had held a poll, Cllr Danvers replied: “It’s like beating your wife. In the end, he is going to get the answer that he wants”

Speaking to cllr Danvers on Thursday morning, he said: “I would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone I have offended with comments I made during an interview with Your Harlow yesterday regarding the Council’s budget proposals for 2018/19.

“I understand that it was completely inappropriate.

“Domestic violence is an extremely serious issue, which has a devastating impact on the lives of victims.

“I was completely wrong to refer to it in the way I did, and will be much more sensitive and careful with my language in future”.

The manager of the Harlow District Chamber of Commerce, Ian Hudson said: “I apologise if I have given offence. This is a misunderstanding. I do not condone any form of domestic violence. I think the comment was taken out of context”.

Mr Halfon is not alone. The leader of the Harlow Conservatives, cllr Andrew Johnson and deputy leader, cllr Joel Charles have also called for cllr Danvers to resign.

We have spoken to interim leader of Harlow Council, cllr Emma Toal, who has directed us to the statement by cllr Danvers.

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7 Comments for Harlow MP demands Labour councillor resigns after “It’s like beating your wife” comment:

nodrub
2018-01-18 19:10:04

Of course domestic violence is an awful crime, and councillors should be careful to avoid using language which appears to undermine its seriousness. Councillor Danvers' off-the-cuff comment was undoubtedly thoughtless. However, Mr Halfon should be reminded of his own record on the respect of women before he starts calling for the resignation of others.

RayMo
2018-01-18 19:23:05

All violence is abhorrent. I think we can agree on that. But you know what, having listened to Halfon's rant I feel that next to violence on the list is petty jibes. I know that Mike is a decent chap, I also know that he meant no offence and I interpret his statement in the way he meant it. On the other hand, regarding Halfon, what can one say... A very slow hand clap maybe would express it best. I am not a socialist btw.

MickyB77
2018-01-19 10:28:00

Some people trying to defend the indefensible perhaps condone the 'slip of the tongue' by Danvers. A socialist bully boy, convicted by his own mouth, like several others. Who can we trust in this commie group ? A pat on the back to R Halfon for bringing this to our attention. LABOUR at YOUR PERIL. MOMENTUM appear to be rearing it's ugly head in 'arlow, beware.

RayMo
2018-01-19 13:40:14

My other half said to me "If you walk through the kitchen in your muddy boots again I will kill you".. Do you think I should report her to the old bill? I don't think she would kill a fly let alone me but I knew what she meant. Halfon, Who I voted for, is trying his luck I think. Maybe I will dig out a few old press cuttings from not so long ago, see what he has to say about that. Maybe 'snowflakery' is manifesting itself across the whole political spectrum. UNDERHAND JIBES at YOUR PERIL, beware.

MickyB77
2018-01-19 17:12:08

Spot the difference RMo. This idiot spoke to the C of Commerce in public. At present, it seems, anything untoward directed at our female population is denigrated once it becomes public. The idiot should pay the price. Labour at your PERIL.

RayMo
2018-01-19 17:42:16

End of the day, I believe Halfon chose to interpret this to try and gain some political ground, a cheap shot at an otherwise decent chap. Amazingly, I probably have more in common politically with you. However, I will say what I want and to who ever I want, I could not give a fig if I upset anyone, although I don't go out of my way to cause offence.I think that goes for everyone. Halfon is behaving like a snidey little teacher's pet, not an elected MP, or more importantly a man. He is being opportunistic and I won't vote for him again that's for sure.

MickyB77
2018-01-21 14:16:30

Oh Dear. Your comment is along the lines of, "sticks and stones" etc. Who mentioned your right to free speech ? I didn't.

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