Green councillor Ben Duncan faces action over "killers" tweet

Ben Duncan, Green councillor for Queen's Park
Ben Duncan, Green councillor for Queen's Park

The Green Party has begun disciplinary proceedings against Councillor Ben Duncan.

The Green Party has begun disciplinary proceedings against Councillor Ben Duncan after he tweeted about "hired killers" being on the streets on Armed Forces Day.

A party spokesperson said: "In light of the Twitter comments made by Councillor Ben Duncan on Saturday, the Green Party of Brighton and Hove has this morning started a formal disciplinary process.

"The Brighton and Hove Green Party Executive this morning decided that disciplinary proceedings were justified and will report any outcomes in due course. A panel will now be formed to determine what, if any, further action is warranted.

"No further comment will be given at this stage."

The announcement of disciplinary action came as more controversy grew about another tweet by Cllr Duncan: "Blasphemous 7yowants 'Islam book' to press flowers in (it's big and heavy).

"Should I stone her to death when I get home from work?"

Earlier, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, had urged Cllr Duncan to stand down.

She made her comments on a Change.org online petition calling on her to "reprimand fully" the councillor for branding UK armed forces personnel as "killers" and calling for his reisgnation.

In response to the petition - which had attracted nearly 1,200 names by 5pm today, Ms Lucas said: "Thank you for raising your concerns about a tweet sent by Cllr Ben Duncan. As I made clear when I first became aware of the tweet, I find Cllr Duncan’s actions completely unacceptable.

"I immediately called on him to apologise for the offence and distress he has caused. I also called on the local Green party to take disciplinary action and that process in now underway. I have demanded that Cllr Duncan stand down as a Green councillor too.

"I have a huge appreciation for the role played by the individual men and women who belong to our armed forces. Cllr Duncan’s comments do not reflect the Green Party’s position or mine.

"Although my own role is completely separate from that of the City Council and its councillors, I’d like to use this opportunity to offer my own sincere apologies for the understandable anger and distress Cllr Duncan’s insensitive comments have caused."

Cllr Duncan, who represents Queen's Park, apologised on Twitter:: "Apols for offence caused by tweet re soldiers on streets. Many will hav been remembering loved ones who died and was insensitive to their loss"

He also tweeted: "I knew there'd be some reaction - but I'm overwhelmed by the messages of support amid the abuse, threats and swearing: thank you all!"

Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour and Co-operative Group, said: "Councillor Duncan should resign and he should do so quickly.

"He is free to criticise politicians who send troops to war, but not those who risk and often sacrifice their lives as a consequence.

"His comments are stupid and deeply offensive, particularly when we are marking the anniversaries of D-Day and World War One.

"Were he a councillor in my group he would be gone by the end of the day. However, based on past experience the Green Party will do nothing."