‘Stop mongols having sex’: Tory mayor resigns

A Conservative mayor resigned in disgrace today, after he was forced to apologise for suggesting that disabled people should not have sex.

Swindon's Conservative mayor Martin had been under pressure to stand down following comments labelling disabled people "mongols".

"Are we still letting those mongols have sex with each other?" Martin asked a council meeting last year.

The comments led to a formal complaint against him.

Last week a standards committee ruled that he should offer an "unreserved apology" within seven days and attend a training course.

He finally resigned this morning, just hours before local people were set to stage a protest against him.

"It is with regret that I submit my resignation as Mayor of the Borough of Swindon with immediate effect," he said today in a statement.

"Following the accusations against me, I have cooperated with the independent Standards investigation, I have accepted the findings, I have made new apologies and am abiding by the other recommendations from the Standards Assessment Panel.

"However, it is clear that this will not stop the attacks on the office and person of mayor.  Therefore, I deem it best for the people of Swindon to resign."

Martin had previously resisted calls for his resignation.

He admitted that the term mongol was not a "modern word" and told the BBC he had only used it because "was brought up" with it.

He added that the standards committee "want a new apology and I will keep apologising until they fall over."

"I'm sorry, I'm human, and I don't know what is wrong with my apologies," he added.

Disability charity Scope accused Martin of having "missed the point".

"Of course he should apologise for using this offensive term. But this isn’t just about political correctness and using the wrong words," chief executive Richard Hawkes said.

"Disturbingly, he has insinuated that there is something wrong with disabled people having sex with each other.

"This is about deep-seated ignorance towards disabled people and a lack of acceptance that disabled people have sex lives, which can be just as fulfilling – or unfulfilling – as anyone else’s.

"The mayor’s public apology needs to acknowledge that it is more than just his words that are at fault. And that with his office, comes a responsibility to represent all of his constituents."

Local people had been expected to stage a protest later today calling on him to go.

The Swindon People's Assembly were set to protest outside the council offices at 4.30pm.