Anger after Claverdon Parish Council chairman describes gay people as ‘those who chose to swim in unnatural waters’

The chairman of a parish council has caused anger after he referred to gay people as ‘those who chose to swim in unnatural waters’.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 2:57 pm
The village of Claverdon.

Simon Lawton, who is the head of Claverdon Parish Council, made the comments on his personal Facebook page, leading one villager to call for his resignation.

In addition to that, Claverdon resident Jon Abbott also said he wants Mr Lawton to publicly apologise for his comments.

In a reply on Facebook, Mr Lawton - who was writing on his personal page and not as the chairman of the parish council - said to Mr Abbott that he is ‘happy to apologise if I have caused you offence’ and offered to meet him.

But Mr Abbott said he wants to meet with him in his role as chairman of the parish council, not in a personal capacity, and once he has made a proper apology.

The Courier and Weekly News tried to contact Mr Lawton on a couple of occasions but he did not return our messages.

Mr Abbott said: “He is validating the view that it is OK to be a offensive and there will be no consequences. He needs to put out a public apology or stand down as chairman of the parish council.”

The debate started when Mr Lawton wrote on Facebook: “On the LGBT thing there is a Q on the end now. What does it stand for?”

After someone answered his question, he went on to say: “I am losing the plot here. I thought queer was an offensive term for those who chose to swim in unnatural waters.”

Mr Abbott shared a screen shot of his post, saying it as offensive. This led to many other comments of support for Mr Abbott, with people describing the chairman’s views as disgusting and disgraceful.

Mr Abbott added: “Claverdon is not a big village and his job is to represent the community. But why will families and children engage with the parish council if they know there is this kind of prejudice?

“This is a shame as on the whole the parish council is wonderful.”