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Councillor barred from Conservative group for 'Islamophobic' Facebook posts calls for online code of conduct
A councillor is “extremely saddened” he has been forced out of the Conservative group for his controversial Facebook comments.
Councillor Chris Joannides had the whip permanently withdrawn on Monday evening after posts on his social networking page, which compared Muslim children wearing burqas to bin bags, were branded anti-Islamic.
The Grange representative claims the comments were taken out of context, and were meant to be “tongue in the cheek” and “blokeish banter” with friends and that he intended no disrespect.
He is now calling for the Conservative group to introduce a code of conduct and further guidance to teach members how they should behave online.
He said: “I have been working for the Conservative group since I first ran for election in 2002 in Palmers Green.
“I have been active on Enfield Council since being elected in 2006 to Grange ward. I have given it my all. I am extremely saddened by what has happened.
“I have never denied that some of my actions on Facebook caused upset to people.
"I have been portrayed as Islamaphobic by posts that have been carefully edited to portray me as such. It is an easy mistake to make in the world of electronic mass communications.”
On his Facebook page, Cllr Joannides also complained his duties for Enfield Borough Council were “eating” into his social life.
He said he would not want anyone else to go through what he has gone through, and hopes greater online guidance from the Conservative group could prevent this from happening in the future.
He added he is “extremely grateful” for the continued support and help from the Enfield Southgate Conservative Association and some of his fellow councillors during this “very difficult period”.
The politician, who says he has worked diligently for the people in his Grange ward, remains an Independent Conservative councillor.
He is still available to meet members of the community during his surgery between 10.30am and 11.30am at Palmers Green Library in Green Lanes every first Saturday of the month.