Devon

Nazi salute Plymouth councillor Jonny Morris suspended

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Media captionCouncillor apologises for Nazi salute during council debate

A city councillor who made a Nazi salute during a meeting has been suspended.

Jonny Morris, a Labour councillor in Plymouth, made the gesture in protest after Conservative members voted to end a debate on the rise of council tax.

Mr Morris said he "apologised unreservedly" but was "very angry at the closing down of debate".

MP for Plymouth, Johnny Mercer, called on Mr Morris to resign, calling the Labour councillors a "vile group".

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that they have been made aware of the incident, which is being treated as a public order offence.

Labour group leader Tudor Evans said: "I think we've moved as quickly as we can to make it very clear that we're not happy about it".

"The Labour Party takes this sort of thing very seriously, and so we took steps last night to suspend him - pending an investigation - because we don't condone this sort of thing."

More on the councillor making a Nazi salute, and other Devon news

The gesture was branded "an utter disgrace" by other councillors at the meeting.

Image copyright Twitter/JonnyMorris
Image caption Councillor Jonny Morris has been suspended pending an investigation

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer described the pending investigation as "waffling", and said it's an "open and shut case".

"Doing a Nazi salute anywhere is clearly completely inappropriate, I don't know what possesses someone to do that sort of thing - it's incredibly offensive," said Mr Mercer.

"That Plymouth is being talked about today because a councillor has done this in a council debate is embarrassing - for me and for Plymouth."

The budget meeting saw councillors narrowly vote in favour of increasing council tax bills by 4.49 per cent.

Mr Evans said the Nazi salute had caused a distraction from the issues.

"I'm now talking about this when I should be talking about the fact that the Tories have just just levied their third highest council tax rise in Plymouth's history," he said.

Local authorities warned last week that services face cuts despite council tax increases of up to 4.99 per cent to help pay for elderly social care.

Image caption Councillor Jonny Morris directed a Nazi salute towards opposing members during a debate on the rise of council tax in Plymouth

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