Oxford

Labour councillor brands Oxford homeless 'a disgrace'

John Tanner
Image caption John Tanner is the city council board member for a Clean and Green Oxford

A Labour councillor who branded Oxford's homeless people "a disgrace" could be referred to the local government standards board.

City council executive board member John Tanner told BBC Oxford rough sleepers are "a real blight" on the city and some were not really homeless.

The Greens said his comments were "disgraceful" and he may have breached the councillors' code of conduct.

Mr Tanner has since apologised and said his comments were "very unwise".

The Green Party said despite his apology it was still taking advice on whether he breached the requirement for councillors to be respectful and not bully individuals or groups in the media.

'Deliberate attack'

Originally Mr Tanner said: "It's a real blight on Oxford, we are an international city, people come from all over the world and they don't want to see rough sleepers all over the place.

"I would like to go up to some of these rough sleepers and say 'you are a disgrace'."

He added: "The biggest culprit is the government, which is cutting benefits to so many people that a lot of people are faced with no choice."

After criticism from the Greens, Mr Tanner said he apologised "unreservedly" and added: "I was quite wrong to imply that it was in any way the fault of the beggars."

But, Green Party housing spokesman David Thomas said: "This was no slip of the tongue but a direct and deliberate attack on one of the most vulnerable groups in Oxford from a senior city and county Labour councillor."

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