LOCAL Conservative leaders have slammed the racist remarks made by John Cherry – but he will still stand for re-election in next week’s county council vote.
Both West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council have reported Mr Cherry to their standards boards, but UK electoral law means he must still stand as a Conservative candidate in the May 2 elections.
The law means it is not possible for him to withdraw his nomination as a candidate at this stage as the election process is now ‘locked’ and cannot be changed.
“He will therefore stand as a candidate and his party will be shown as the Conservatives on postal votes and ballot papers. Therefore it is possible for voters to vote for him and those votes will be counted as for all the other candidates. Indeed it is possible for him to be elected,” said a statement by Chichester Conservative Association.
“Unfortunately John Cherry’s resignation means that those who would have chosen to vote Conservative at this election no longer have an accredited Conservative candidate. Individual voters will need to make their own decisions about their choice of candidate, from all those nominated, for their future representation on West Sussex County Council.”
The association also pointed out Mr Cherry remains a councillor on both the West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Councils but has had the Conservative whip withdrawn by the leaders of both councils. Leaders of both councils have reported him to their standards boards following his reported remarks.
Tory leader of Chichester District Council Heather Caird condemned Mr Cherry’s comments to the Mail on Sunday, and said his opinions ‘in no way reflect the views of this council’.
Mr Cherry has made a statement after resigning from the Conservative party, and said: “My remarks about Durand Academy, as reported in the Mail on Sunday, were plainly wrong. They were thoughtless and extremely foolish. I unreservedly apologise and withdraw them. I very much regret the distress this must have caused.”