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Councillor who called disability campaigners 'selfish' reinstated on Conservative group

PUBLISHED: 18:26 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:26 01 November 2019

Margaret Stone, Conservative councillor for Clavering. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Margaret Stone, Conservative councillor for Clavering. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Norfolk Conservatives

A councillor who called disability campaigners "selfish" has been reinstated as a member of the county's Conservative group.

Judith and Nick Taylor from Buxton with the email they received from Norfolk County Councillor Margaret Stone. Picture: Neil DidsburyJudith and Nick Taylor from Buxton with the email they received from Norfolk County Councillor Margaret Stone. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Margaret Stone was suspended from the party's group on Norfolk County Council after more than 30 complaints were received about remarks she made to the parents of a disabled man.

Mrs Stone told Judith and Nick Taylor, who have a son with Down's Syndrome, and have campaigned against care cost changes brought in by the council, that they were "selfish as to believe your needs are greater than the rest of the population".

She also described the meetings of the Disability Norfolk Networking Group (DNNG), founded by the couple, as "biased and lacking credibility".

The council's standards boards sanctioned Mrs Stone, after upholding 29 complaints made against her, and described her breaches of the code of conduct as "offensive" and "unacceptable".

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

A report from a sub-committee hearing, on Tuesday, October 22, stated: "Your email was offensive and caused offence to a large group of people.

"It is unacceptable for a councillor to communicate in the terms used in your email."

READ MORE: Conservatives suspend Norfolk county councillor who called disabled man's parents 'selfish'

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But at a meeting of the Conservative group on Friday, November 1, Mrs Stone was readmitted to the party group.

Council leader Andrew Proctor confirmed Mrs Stone had apologised for her actions.

He said: "An independent investigation had been carried out that concluded that group rules had been breached and that Mrs Stone should be censured as to her conduct. The group and Mrs Stone accepted that conclusion and following Mrs Stone's apology and confirmation that no further breach would occur she was readmitted to the group."

But Mrs Taylor said Mrs Stone's reinstatement was "very disappointing", while Mr Taylor added: "We do believe she meant what she said."

Labour group leader Steve Morphew blasted Mrs Stone's reinstatement, and said: "Most people were expecting resignation from the council rather than reinstatement to the Tory group, so this is shocking news.

"Anybody who has been so discredited by their behaviour is never going to show councillors in a good light.

"The honourable thing to do is resign from the council."

We approached Mrs Stone for comment.

READ MORE: Councillor punished for 'offensive' email blasting disability campaigners as 'selfish'

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