UKIP plans to expel a councillor from the party after he referred to Muslims as ‘ragheads’ and said many people expect them to ‘start rioting and cut our throats in our neighbourhoods.’ 


Cllr Philip Winter, who joined Almondsbury Parish Council two months ago, made the remarks on a friend’s Facebook wall on Wednesday night. 


When contacted by the Gazette yesterday, Cllr Winter admitted to making the remarks in reference to Muslims but said it was “in a private message as a personal comment – not as a councillor, so it’s not really anyone’s business.” 


In the post, Cllr Winter also said he was “at heart Conservative” and planned to return to the Tory party after the EU referendum. 


Today, a UKIP spokesman told the Gazette: “Mr Winter suggests he has an intention to return from whence he came, the Conservative Party, perhaps we will speed him on his way."


A reader sent a copy of Cllr Winter’s Facebook post to the Gazette yesterday, and said he found the comments “both unacceptable and highly offensive,” adding: “Any person holding such an opinion is unfit for any public office.”

 

Explaining the remarks to the Gazette, Cllr Winter said: “I was telling someone on a personal level about how I used to be a Tory. I don’t really see how this can be found offensive. It must be the terminology which is being blown out of proportion and is an expression.


“What I said is nothing new, I think it’s a general concern from people and I didn’t send this speaking on behalf of the council. It was simply a personal message explaining my background to one person. I did not intend for this to be public.


“It’s being stirred up by a third party clearly.


“It has nothing to do with my position on the council, I expect to remain there. It was purely about my background in a private message.”


Almondsbury Parish Council said it has been made aware of Cllr Winter’s comments.


In a statement, the council said: “The people who told us of this have been advised that the proper course of action is to refer this to the monitoring officer of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC). We understand that this has happened.”


A SGC spokesman told the Gazette: "We have been notified about a complaint relating to a parish councillor which will be dealt with via the standards committee, which is the usual procedure in these circumstances."