Chichester District Council investigates Stedham’s race row councillor

John Cherry, Con, Midhurst
John Cherry, Con, Midhurst

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched by Chichester District Council into remarks made by John Cherry.

Cllr Cherry was forced to resign from the Conservative Party after making comments to a reporter from the Mail on Sunday newspaper about the proposed Durand Academy in Stedham.

The comments, which caused a race storm in the run-up to the county council election, led to the district council receiving three complaints, including one from council leader Heather Caird

On Thursday, the assessment sub-committee of the standards committee voted unanimously to refer the complaints to the monitoring officer, who would arrange the investigation.

Cllr Cherry, who represents the Stedham ward, chose not to attend the meeting at East Pallant House.

Committee member Cllr Michael Woolley said: “I think there’s reason for an investigation in that in terms of natural justice it’s right that Mr Cherry has his say. We want to know whether he accepts that he did say these things.”

An investigation officer will now produce a report which will state whether or not there was a breach of the district council’s code of conduct by Cllr Cherry.

There is currently an ongoing investigation by Sussex Police into Cllr Cherry’s remarks. A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said it was making enquiries to establish whether the remarks amounted to a racist offence, and the police would not provide any further details until the enquiries were concluded.