South East Wales

Cardiff councillor suspended for Nazi remark

Ralph Cook
Image caption Ralph Cook made the remarks at a council meeting in February 2009

A councillor who drew comparisons between his local authority's administration and the Nazis has been suspended for two months.

Ralph Cook, a former leader of the Labour group at Cardiff council, made reference to Nazi Stormtroopers.

An adjudication panel imposed the suspension after ruling he had breached the code of conduct and brought the office of councillor into disrepute.

Council leader Rodney Berman welcomed the decision.

Mr Berman, who is Jewish, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman for Wales, saying he found the remarks made at a council meeting in 2009 personally offensive.

Image caption Council leader Rodney Berman said he found the insults deeply insulting as a Jewish man

Following the three-day hearing at the Mercure Hotel in Cardiff, Mr Berman said: "I am satisfied that the verdict and sanction took into account the total unacceptability of the language that Coun Cook used in drawing wholly inappropriate comparisons between Cardiff council's administration and the Nazis, and recognised that he had done so knowing that it would cause me offence in a manner the adjudication panel has described as 'personal abuse'.

"It was deeply insulting of Coun Cook to liken an argument over usage of procedure during a council debate, which was entirely within the rules, to the actions of a regime which systematically tortured and murdered millions of innocent people.

"And it was particularly wrong for him to have used such language towards me when about eight months previously I had explained to him in an e-mail exchange precisely why I personally found such comparisons unacceptable."

Mr Berman said the initial complaint to the Ombudsman was made by fellow councillor Judith Woodman after the meeting in February 2009.

Mr Cook has been asked for comment.

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