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Council leader 'truly sorry' over email branding disabled man's parents as 'selfish'

PUBLISHED: 12:55 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:55 02 September 2019

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

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The leader of Norfolk County Council has said he is 'truly sorry' for the email sent by one of his fellow Conservative councillors in which she said the parents of a disabled man were 'selfish'.

Margaret Stone, Conservative member for Clavering on Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Margaret Stone, Conservative member for Clavering on Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

And Andrew Proctor has urged members of his group to attend a meeting so disabled people and their carers can discuss the impact of funding cuts.

Conservative county councillor Margaret Stone, who represents the Clavering ward in south Norfolk, resigned as chairman of County Hall's Norfolk health overview and scrutiny committee last week over her remarks.

Mrs Stone had emailed Nick and Judith Taylor, who have a 29-year-old son with Down's syndrome, in response to their request to meet Conservative councillors over changes the council agreed earlier this year to the minimum income guarantee, which reduces a weekly allowance disabled people receive.

Mrs Stone had said: "I would not even consider attending a meeting which is so biased as to only include Conservative county councillors. Your meetings are biased and lack credibility.

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"I am increasingly disgusted in your campaign which is so selfish as to believe your needs are greater than the rest of the population."

Mrs Stone stepped down from her committee chairman role on Thursday, although she remains a county councillor.

And, at a meeting of the county council's cabinet on Monday, Marilyn Heath, whose daughter Sara has Down's Syndrome, asked council leader Mr Proctor if he would reject Mrs Stone's views and allow those affected by the cuts to meet at County Hall on September 17.

Mr Proctor said: "I am truly sorry this ever happened and will do my best to ensure it does not happen again. Neither myself, the cabinet member for adult social care nor the administration endorse the comments made by councillor Stone.

"I fully appreciate the desire of all families to do the utmost for their children and that they should have an opportunity to express how they feel."

He said the meeting would be held at County Hall and added: "I will be asking my group members to join me and the invitation is open to all Conservative councillors. I will be requesting all Conservative councillors to attend if they are able."

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