Richard Barnbrook, the controversial British National Party politician, has been suspended from Barking & Dagenham LBC after being found guilty of bringing both the borough and the London Assembly into disrepute.
At the first ever joint standards committee hearing between the London Assembly – to which he was also elected last summer – and a London borough, Cllr Barnbrook was found to have knowingly made false claims about murders in Barking.
As well as the month-long ban from the council, Barking and Dagenham’s standards sub-committee ordered Cllr Barnbrook to publish a written apology on his blog and will not reinstate him until he has done so.
The assembly’s sub-committee censured him, ordered him to publish a written apology of its specification, and instructed him to attend a training course in ethics.
After a four-hour long hearing at the Greater London Authority on Thursday, during which anti-fascist demonstrators protested loudly in the café area, the joint committee endorsed a report from investigators that Cllr Barnbrook had broken the councillors Code of Conduct and brought his office and both authorities into disrepute.
Late last September, a video of Cllr Barnbrook being interviewed by the BNP’s deputy leader Simon Darby outside Southwark Cathedral was posted on Cllr Barnbrook’s blog on the Daily Telegraph’s website.
In the video, Cllr Barnbrook claimed that three people had been murdered in Barking and Dagenham during the month. In fact, two of the incidents referred to did not lead to fatalities and the woman who did die was killed in neighbouring Newham LBC. He later admitted to being aware his comments were incorrect at the time they were made but refused to remove the blog or apologise for the errors.
Valerie Rush (Lab), the then member for community safety in Barking, lodged a complaint claiming the statements would undermine the public’s confidence in local government and the police.
Cllr Barnbrook said he had misspoken in saying the woman had been stabbed in Barking and Dagenham when she was in fact from Barking and Dagenham. With regards to the other incident he said he had meant to say “attempted murder” rather than “murder”.
He claimed the mistakes were a result of his being dyslexic and that he had become confused as a result of the ambient noise from the cathedral and passing traffic.
“It was an unintentional mistake that occured due to my disability,” he said.