Dozens of Ilkeston folk have called on a councillor, who told a sick joke about dead police officers to the wife of a serving sergeant, to resign.
Labour councillors took to the streets of Cllr David Stephenson’s Little Hallam ward in Ilkeston this weekend with a petition calling for him to step down and gathered 34 signatures in an hour.
Cllr Stephenson’s joke – ‘If you get 100 points for shooting one policewoman and 200 points for shooting two policewomen, how many do you get for shooting a lawyer?’ – was told two days after Pc Nicola Bone and Pc Fiona Hughes were killed on duty in Manchester.
He has been stripped of his role as lead member for resources on Erewash Borough Council’s executive committee and can never stand for the Tory party again.
Cllr John Frudd, who led the petitioning, said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of Ilkestonians who signed the petition and party members have been out gathering more signatures this week.
“What disgusts residents of Little Hallam Ward is that this man thinks he has been harshly treated,” he said, “That the matter is a storm in a teapot and he has absolutely no intention of resigning.”
But some have branded Labour’s petition as political point scoring.
Giles Farrand, of Amber Valley and Erewash UKIP, said: “Any decision on his future should be taken by Mr Stephenson himself,” adding, “Political posturing does not help individuals.”
Cllr Stephenson said this week that he is ‘not planning to step down at all’.
If he did step down it would force a by-election and, as the Tories only hold a one-seat majority, it could bring about a hung council.
The chief constable of Derbyshire police Mick Creedon waded into the debate this week, saying he had written personally to Cllr Stephenson.
He said: “I am both staggered and appalled by the comments made by Cllr Stephenson.
“The fact he made these comments at all is quite incredible.”
“But the fact he made them given his public position as an elected representative of the community serving on a borough council is even more incredible.”