Bristol

Bristol gay actor row councillor volunteers suspension

Sir Ian McKellen
Image caption Sir Ian spoke to two Bristol schools on behalf of the charity Stonewall

A conservative councillor, who said gay actor Sir Ian McKellen should not talk about homosexuality in Bristol schools, has voluntarily suspended himself from the council.

Sir Ian is on a national tour explaining to children what it is like to be gay.

But Councillor Chris Windows said his visits could make bullying worse.

He has now apologised for his comments. The Tory group is to decide the length of his suspension.

Following the actor's visit to two Bristol schools earlier this month, Mr Windows said he feared "possibly confused" pupils would be open to potential bullying.

Words misinterpreted

Conservative group leader councillor Geoff Gollop said, in a statement, Mr Windows now realised his remarks were unacceptable and inappropriate.

"I know that Chris rejects all forms of homophobia and regrets that his words were capable of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

"He is also keen to support anti-bullying campaigns," he said.

"However, appreciating that an apology is not sufficient in this instance, Chris has voluntarily agreed to suspend himself from all of his council responsibilities for a temporary period. The Conservative group will decide upon the length of this suspension.

"Chris will use this time to better acquaint himself with the aims of Stonewall (gay rights charity) and the important work they are undertaking in tackling homophobic bullying in our schools."

Neither Mr Windows nor Sir Ian, have yet been available to comment.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites