A Leyland councillor has been called on to resign after controversial comments he posted online resulted in a backlash of criticism.
Conservative councillor Michael Green, who represents Moss Side, says he regrets making the comments on social networking site Twitter, which referred to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg flying a gay pride flag over Whitehall last week.
Coun Green, who has now removed the post from Twitter, wrote: “Gays and lesbians can do what they wish behind closed doors, but I disagree with Deputy PM over flying gay pride flag.”
Hundreds of Twitter users have since blasted Coun Green for being ‘homophobic’, and one councillor from Chorley has even demanded he resign his position.
Coun Green also sits on Lancashire County Council, and Labour councillor Matthew Crow, from Chorley, posted: “Tory Lancs & South Ribble @Cllr_Mike_Green should resign 4 disgusting comments. How dare he suggest gay constituents stay behind closed doors.”
Coun Crow told the Guardian: “It is such an old state of mind; people shouldn’t have to stay behind closed doors.
“I thought it was disgusting that he made those comments when he no doubt represents residents who are gay.
“He overstepped the mark. How can he be a councillor when he has demonstrated such an open act of discrimination?”
Coun Green has since apologised for the comment, saying he didn’t mean to cause offence.
But Coun Crow added: “Whether it was deliberate of naivety, it’s not on in any case.
“I don’t think his apology goes far enough.
“He needs to think more carefully about his words. He is in a privileged position.”
Coun Green, who has been a councillor in South Ribble for almost 10 years, responded on Twitter: “I understand one of my tweets has caused a lot of reaction.
“I did not mean to cause offence to anyone and apologise if my wording was poor.
“I did not agree with Clegg flying the flag.
“Apart from that, all I was saying was that it isn’t my business what people do.”
When asked what he thought about the public’s reaction, Coun Green told the Guardian: “It is beyond belief.
“It wasn’t meant to provoke a reaction, and I regret writing it because it has been taken out of context.
“The whole thing has been blown out of proportion. I never meant to offend anyone.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I do not discriminate against people.
“I have been a councillor for almost a decade and my record is impeccable.
“Unfortunately, Coun Crow doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
He added: “I didn’t agree with Nick Clegg’s decision, and as he’s the first person to do this, it shows that the thousands of people who have come before him haven’t taken the same view as him either.
“I just thought it wasn’t necessary, but it’s not an issue to me. I just don’t see people in those terms.
“I had friends who are gay, and I’ve acted for residents who are included in the particular community we’re talking about.
“It’s absolute nonsense.”
He said he’s surprised at the reaction, which has seen hundreds of tweets from people who are angry at his ‘behind closed doors’ remarks, and said he wouldn’t have done it if he knew the response would be so severe.
He also has no plans to resign on the back of the scandal.
“I will continue to work as hard as ever on behalf of all local residents,” he said.
“My role is an important one, as, amongst many other things, I am leading on schemes to drive forward the local economy.
“This includes new additional apprenticeships and jobs for local residents at sites which we are developing at Cuerden and at the Enterprise Zone. “This is a role which I intend to continue performing, as it is critical for the future of our residents.”
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Weather for Leyland
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North west