Calls have been made for the county chief in charge of schools to resign after he was accused of condoning bullying.

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The row was sparked by a Facebook post from Labour’s Mick Castle in which he said he would “happily bully” Tory leader Bill Borrett.

Mr Castle, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for schools, made the comment as part of a conversation about the authority’s budget, which was set by a narrow margin last week after Tory members voted against it.

He said it was a “light hearted” comment but Tory councillor Tom Garrod has slammed the statement and believes Mr Castle should resign from his cabinet member position.

Mr Garrod said: “As a strategic leader he should lead by example and I don’t think that’s a very good example. As somebody who grew up with cerebral palsy I got a fair bit of stick and I found his comment absolutely abhorrent.

“I would like to think the guy in charge of children’s services lives and breathes anti-bullying, but obviously not.

“If he’s of that attitude, how can he lead a portfolio whose policies include bullying in schools?

“And if he can’t do that he should resign.”

Mr Garrod said friends had also expressed concern over Mr Castle’s comment, after he shared it on his Facebook page, and he would be raising it at next week’s county council cabinet meeting.

He plans to ask county council leader George Nobbs whether he will agree to “terminate” Mr Castle’s position in the cabinet.

But Mr Castle, who is also a councillor on Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and chairs its development control meetings, hit back at the accusation and confirmed he would be leaving the comment online.

“It was a light hearted comment,” he added.

“If he [Mr Garrod] can’t see the humour in that comment I don’t want to make more of a meal of it than he’s already making.”

Mr Castle said he made the statement in the context of a previous conversation, which played out when he appeared on BBC Radio Norfolk when the budget was set last week.

He said: “It was really because someone had said I was bullying [county councillor] Alex Kemp on Radio Norfolk that week, and that’s the context.

“I won’t be taking it off Facebook because there wasn’t any malicious intent. It would almost be like giving credence to what he [Mr Garrod] is saying.”

Mr Castle added that he did not intend to resign “any time soon”.

What do you think? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • You try to intimidate us Castle, but ist is not working, is it !. As for Blackening your name, you can do that on your own, without any help from us. Sounds like you are worried that you are loosing the argument ?

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    "V"

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • The row was sparked by a Facebook post from Labour’s Mick Castle in which he said he would “happily bully” Tory leader Bill Borrett. So Mick Castle is happy to bully others. As all Bullies they take umbridge when their bullish ways are highlighted they bleat to the paper to have it removed. Think back to Councillor Kemp who has left the Labour Party because of bullying.

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    John L Cooper

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Typical Labourite. Bully their way along, but as soon as someone questions what they are doing and they meet their match (such as what is he actually doing for schools, the outer disaster etc), they call them trolls. A sacking couldn't come soon enough.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Like a bunch of kids fighting over some crayons. And thats who we are supposed to put our faith in to run things. Laughable the whole lot of them

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    Gorlmouth

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Well said Gorlmouth. Also can he tell us what experience he has of harbours, education and planning, into which, council areas, he has been parachuted into ?.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Not too hard to identify that Mr Garrod's moral outrage is in fact a cheap and easy way of bypassing a meaningful political debate.

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    NigelS

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • I heard Cllr Castle on the radio the other week trying to tell Nick Conrad that his party would love to have an incinerator in King's Lynn despite the fact that the majority of them voted against the proposal back in October. Either the guy can't count properly or he's let his own agenda cloud local party politics - no wonder Alex Kemp has felt so bullied that she's had to walk away from the Labour group at county hall....

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    User Removed

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Isn't that the way of politics in this country now? Don't bother with the issues or what's best for the citizens, just launch a personal attack on the people not in your own party.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Castle had my first post removed as well typical of him he thinks he can shut up anyone who opposes him!! Think again Micky boy you may be able to brow be.at a vulnerable woman grieving the very recent loss of her father but you wont shut up a core of people who are sick to the back teeth of little dictators. V you forgot to point out that Castle and his other pet dinosaurs failed to understand how to seperate and recycle waste as well. They manage to facilitate a recycling rate of 26% failing miserably and denying income from recycling credits to GYBC which could be used for public services. Hope people in your area realise what they need to do at the next elections.

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    Canary Boy

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Well said V. He does not mind blackening other people's names by using the words internet troll. Yet is not prepared to answer the real issues. Without people he would not have a job, without voters he would not have any authority. Lets talk about what is relevent Mr Castle. The outer harbour and its ferry route and business - Fail. The King Street regeneration which resembles the bronx - Fail..No housing list - the only place in the uk without one- Fail. Open a theatre open an art gallery. Does not change the fact Yarmouth is like a ghost town with boarded up ahops, disgraceful looking king street shops and buildings. But Yarmouth is on the up isnt it. Because we have a theatre, a gallery and ooh a premier inn.. fact is Dinosaurs ruled the earth. Well they appear to be in council offices too

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    Gorlmouth

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • An internet troll is usually someone hiding behind made-up words rather than their real names and their mission is often to denigrate and intimidate via their anonymous comments. Far too many populate the internet feedback sections for our local papers. If they think that calling me a "bully" is enough to make me a bully they are mistaken. However I would ask that their more extreme, unsubstantiated remarks are removed so as not to blacken my name through innuendo.

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    Mick Castle

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • And once again he is mouthing off. Giving us the benefit of the wisdom on the new art gallery and king street. Yet using teenage insults such as internet trolls

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    Gorlmouth

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • An internet troll is usually someone hiding behind made-up words rather than their real names and their mission is often to denigrate and intimidate via their anonymous comments. Far too many populate the internet feedback sections for our local papers. If they think that calling me a "bully" is enough to make me a bully they are mistaken. However I would ask that their more extreme, unsubstantiated remarks are removed so as not to blacken my name through innuendo.

    Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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