A Plymouth Tory councillor has been suspended after ‘making a mockery of women’s struggles’ in a social media post.
The Conservative Party has confirmed that Mark Deacon’s suspension is with immediate effect after he posted an image of himself in women’s clothes in response to a proposal for a 6pm men’s curfew by The Green Party’s Baroness Jones.
The suggestion was made in the wake of the disappearance of Sarah Everard.
The post, published to Facebook, has been met with outrage.
Mark, a councillor for Southway, is pictured wearing a wig and a dress. Posted alongside the image is the message: ‘If the Green Party and some Labour Party politicians get their way and impose this ridiculous 6pm curfew on men, then I’m going to wear my dress more often.’
Tonight, leader of the Conservative Group Nick Kelly said that in light of the social media post Cllr Deacon has been suspended immediately from the group pending investigation.
Taking to twitter, one user said: “Really unsettling to see sitting Plymouth Conservative councillor Mark Deacon mocking women’s concerns about male violence, trivialising such a serious matter in an extraordinarily offensive fashion.
“You should be ashamed of yourself @MarkDeacon4 ”
Another person added: “@plymouthcc Really!? THIS is a PCC Councillor?! Mark Deacon, you should be ashamed of yourself. Couldn’t delete this fast enough, it seems.”
Former Labour MP candidate for Plymouth Moor View, Charlotte Holloway contacted Cllr Deacon via email urging him to remove the post and apologise.
Cllr Deacon has since removed the post and issued an apology for “any upset he may have caused.”
Also posted on Facebook, it reads: “I wholeheartedly apologise for the comments that I made on a post this Saturday Afternoon.
“I didn’t intend any offence that my comments might have caused to a section of the public.”
Many felt the apology ‘wasn’t enough’ and there are claims he is deleting responses underneath it.
One person commented on the post: “Mark can I ask why you are now selectively deleting any responses that disagree with your disgustingly badly thought out post.
“Surely this just shows how little regard you have for the women and men who found it distasteful and upsetting and makes a mockery of your apology”
Another added: “Sanitising comments to leave only the few who support your previous statement is possibly the worst thing that you’ve done throughout.
“You should either accept, listen and learn from your mistakes, or simply turn off comments and step down from your position.
“You are meant to represent your constituency. Those who abhor the comments you’ve made ARE YOUR CONSTITUENTS as well. You can’t simply erase their views as they don’t follow your misguided, misogynistic, archaic approach.”
Plymouth Labour’s cabinet member for Customer Focus and Community Safety Cllr Sally Haydon added: “It’s extremely disappointing to see a senior councillor make a mockery of women’s deeply-felt worries about the issue of male violence.
“It is not befitting of the office of councillor and a member of the shadow cabinet of this council to poke fun at concerns of this nature.
I welcome his suspension and I hope Councillor Deacon will take some time to reflect on the anger his post has generated, to properly understand why it has caused such offence and offer a full apology for his actions.”
Cllr Deacon Told Plymouthlive he would be making no further comment.