Swindon mayor stands down in the nick of time

This Is Wiltshire: Mayor Nick Martin has resigned Mayor Nick Martin has resigned

NICK Martin has resigned as Mayor of Swindon.

Coun Martin came under fire after what was seen as his use of derogatory language towards disabled people.

In a meeting last year he asked: “Are we still letting these Mongols have sex with each other?”, prompting a complaint from a fellow councillor.

After a lengthy investigation, Coun Martin (Con, Shaw) was ordered to apologise after being found in breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct, as well as complete a training course.

Speaking to the Adver after the ruling, he apologised for the use of the word ‘Mongol’ but this did not stop a growing number of people calling for him to stand down. The Chief Executive of disability charity Scope also said an apology was simply not enough.

Yesterday, Coun Martin succumbed to the pressure and handed in his resignation letter.

It read: “It is with regret that I submit my resignation as Mayor of the Borough of Swindon with immediate effect.

“Following the accusations against me, I have cooperated with the independent Standards investigation, I have accepted the findings, I have made new apologies and am abiding by the other recommendations from the Standards Assessment Panel.

“However, it is clear that this will not stop the attacks on the Office and person of Mayor. Therefore, I deem it best for the people of Swindon to resign.”

Yesterday, the decision was welcomed but many said it had come too late.

Mark Dempsey, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Swindon North, (Lab, Walcot & Park North) said: “People across Swindon have recoiled in horror when they have read or heard the deeply offensive comments made by Nick Martin. The CEO of Scope, the national disability charity said that these comments show a ‘deep-seated ignorance towards disabled people’.

“In my view these comments were deeply disrespectful and offensive towards people with learning disabilities. That is why I called for Nick Martin to stand down as Mayor. In my view he should have apologised and resigned a long time ago.

“I am disappointed that the Conservatives supported Nick Martin and did not act to remove him. I think they have shown that they are out of touch and it has been extremely damaging to the town’s reputation.”

The resignation brings an end to a process which has lasted almost nine months since the initial complaint. In December he survived a vote of no confidence after Conservative colleagues argued the process of standards needed to take place.

The Leader of Swindon Council, David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “As we said at the Special Council in December, the Conservative Group wanted the Standards Committee to complete its independent investigation. It has now done this, and Coun Martin has accepted its findings and is meeting the three requirements it made of him.

“The Group believes that it was the correct decision by Coun Martin to stand down, following representations to him by Group Members.

“The Conservative Group stands by the Standards process. If Members are found in breach of the Code, we expect them to meet any conditions set out; where Members are exonerated, we consider the matter resolved.

“Anything further on the issue of the Mayoralty is a matter for the individual concerned.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said while it was correct the mayor went, he regretted the whole incident had taken place.

He said: “After the standards process was followed and their conclusions were reached, Coun Martin has accepted the committee’s findings and has now resigned as mayor, which I think was the right thing to do.

“When I think of the very hard work that Nick has put in as a Swindon councillor over the years, I am sad that this has happened.”

His colleague Justin Tomlinson, the North Swindon MP, said: “Following the publication of the Standards Committee report, it is absolutely right and proper that Nick stands down as mayor.

“The use of that language is totally unacceptable for a mayor who collectively represents the whole borough council.”

Reacting to the resignation, Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said: “This wasn’t just about political correctness and using the wrong words.

“The mayor insinuated that there is something wrong with disabled people having sex with each other. “Disturbingly, his outdated comments showed a lack of acceptance that disabled people have sex lives, which can be just as fulfilling – or unfulfilling – as anyone else’s.

“The outcry following the mayor’s comments show that the general public don’t condone this kind of deep-seated ignorance towards disabled people.”

Better Swindon, a local campaign group, has been working with the council to improve the standards process and says the example of the mayor should be used to inspire further change.

Chairman Chris Barry said: “We are pleased that Coun Martin has finally stepped down from the role of Mayor. What is now needed is for the council to review its constitution, including its definitions of unacceptable behaviour, to ensure this sort of thing cannot happen again.

“Only then can we all move on from this regrettable episode.”

It is the first time a mayor has had to stand down from the position in living memory. The Deputy Mayor Teresa Page (Lab, Penhill and Upper Stratton) will perform all mayoral duties until formally becoming mayor herself in June.

Comments (24)

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7:32am Wed 16 Apr 14

The Jockster says...

No matter what political party anyone supports remarks such as those made by Nick Martin are totally unacceptable and derogatory. He should now also resign as a Councillor and change his name by deed poll to Mr. R. Sole, Richard Cranium or Sam Cant!
No matter what political party anyone supports remarks such as those made by Nick Martin are totally unacceptable and derogatory. He should now also resign as a Councillor and change his name by deed poll to Mr. R. Sole, Richard Cranium or Sam Cant! The Jockster
  • Score: 8

8:42am Wed 16 Apr 14

semitonic says...

I was just thinking we could do with another Nick Martin article.
I was just thinking we could do with another Nick Martin article. semitonic
  • Score: 4

9:34am Wed 16 Apr 14

BeardyBill says...

We'll done to Justin Tomlinson for making a clear statement condemning Martin's actions. Disappointing that Robert Buckland has chosen to go down the more weaselly worded route.
We'll done to Justin Tomlinson for making a clear statement condemning Martin's actions. Disappointing that Robert Buckland has chosen to go down the more weaselly worded route. BeardyBill
  • Score: 9

11:08am Wed 16 Apr 14

Stovepipe says...

Wow!!! I bet his family are so proud of him, we still love you Daddy. How can anyone even think that, let alone say it, no matter what your position in life, defies belief.
Wow!!! I bet his family are so proud of him, we still love you Daddy. How can anyone even think that, let alone say it, no matter what your position in life, defies belief. Stovepipe
  • Score: 9

11:26am Wed 16 Apr 14

Robh says...

For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.
For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity. Robh
  • Score: -32

11:50am Wed 16 Apr 14

anyopinion says...

NOW HE MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY AS A COUNSILLOR...BEFORE A PETITION IS SET UP TO START COLLECTING SIGNATURES...A POLL WOULD SHOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF SWINDON RESIDENTS HAVE NO TRUST IN HIM WHATSOEVER AND WANT HIM OUT!!!!
SHAME ON HIM AND ON ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM....
NOW HE MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY AS A COUNSILLOR...BEFORE A PETITION IS SET UP TO START COLLECTING SIGNATURES...A POLL WOULD SHOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF SWINDON RESIDENTS HAVE NO TRUST IN HIM WHATSOEVER AND WANT HIM OUT!!!! SHAME ON HIM AND ON ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM.... anyopinion
  • Score: 15

11:53am Wed 16 Apr 14

Always Grumpy says...

anyopinion wrote:
NOW HE MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY AS A COUNSILLOR...BEFORE A PETITION IS SET UP TO START COLLECTING SIGNATURES...A POLL WOULD SHOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF SWINDON RESIDENTS HAVE NO TRUST IN HIM WHATSOEVER AND WANT HIM OUT!!!!
SHAME ON HIM AND ON ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM....
Ok, we heard you. No need to shout!
[quote][p][bold]anyopinion[/bold] wrote: NOW HE MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY AS A COUNSILLOR...BEFORE A PETITION IS SET UP TO START COLLECTING SIGNATURES...A POLL WOULD SHOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF SWINDON RESIDENTS HAVE NO TRUST IN HIM WHATSOEVER AND WANT HIM OUT!!!! SHAME ON HIM AND ON ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM....[/p][/quote]Ok, we heard you. No need to shout! Always Grumpy
  • Score: 1

11:55am Wed 16 Apr 14

express_a_view says...

Robh it was, with respect, a crass comment made in a public forum. I am not a supporter of Justin Tomlinson but in his comment that “The use of that language is totally unacceptable for a mayor who collectively represents the whole borough council” he has got it absolutely right and I give him credit for doing so. I also do think there was a sense amongst some, fairly or unfairly, that Councillor Martin's regret came over as something well short of heartfelt.
Robh it was, with respect, a crass comment made in a public forum. I am not a supporter of Justin Tomlinson but in his comment that “The use of that language is totally unacceptable for a mayor who collectively represents the whole borough council” he has got it absolutely right and I give him credit for doing so. I also do think there was a sense amongst some, fairly or unfairly, that Councillor Martin's regret came over as something well short of heartfelt. express_a_view
  • Score: 20

1:29pm Wed 16 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

Robh wrote:
For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.
Comments like that make you as bad as him, "old fashioned comments" my backside. Its the arrogance of position and people who think they are more important than others and look down on others. And you wonder why politicians are held rightfully in such contempt. There is no excuse for that comment whatsoever and trying to excuse it is disgusting.
[quote][p][bold]Robh[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.[/p][/quote]Comments like that make you as bad as him, "old fashioned comments" my backside. Its the arrogance of position and people who think they are more important than others and look down on others. And you wonder why politicians are held rightfully in such contempt. There is no excuse for that comment whatsoever and trying to excuse it is disgusting. house on the hill
  • Score: 12

1:47pm Wed 16 Apr 14

dukeofM4 says...

Here we go again another ride on the victimism bandwagon.
Here we go again another ride on the victimism bandwagon. dukeofM4
  • Score: -8

2:04pm Wed 16 Apr 14

brandx says...

I really expected better from Nick.

Regretfully, I now think that he should seriously rethink as to whether he has a future as a public representative.
I really expected better from Nick. Regretfully, I now think that he should seriously rethink as to whether he has a future as a public representative. brandx
  • Score: 12

3:07pm Wed 16 Apr 14

fuzzey says...

Who says the majority want him out leave the man alone he has done good work ..a lot of people fond of him and have been pleased to see him in our area ..prince Philip makes loads of gafts do we want him out ??or try to ruin his life for one mistake ?
Who says the majority want him out leave the man alone he has done good work ..a lot of people fond of him and have been pleased to see him in our area ..prince Philip makes loads of gafts do we want him out ??or try to ruin his life for one mistake ? fuzzey
  • Score: -16

6:57pm Wed 16 Apr 14

House with no name says...

If I may make a comment or two in the Labour Party daily blog for surely that is what these threads are.

I see the next Mayor is a Labour woman - I wonder if she will get attacked so aggressively for any gaffs she makes - of course not because she is Labour.

I also read that Chairman Chris Barry of 'Better Swindon" (that is a joke in itself) is reported to have made a comment in this article - Surely chairman is an old fashioned term and should be in fact a Chair or Chair Person - this is surely anti feminist and I take exception (no I take offence ) to that term so I want him to resign because I am upset at his use of that word.

You Labour people can't have it all ways !
If I may make a comment or two in the Labour Party daily blog for surely that is what these threads are. I see the next Mayor is a Labour woman - I wonder if she will get attacked so aggressively for any gaffs she makes - of course not because she is Labour. I also read that Chairman Chris Barry of 'Better Swindon" (that is a joke in itself) is reported to have made a comment in this article - Surely chairman is an old fashioned term and should be in fact a Chair or Chair Person - this is surely anti feminist and I take exception (no I take offence ) to that term so I want him to resign because I am upset at his use of that word. You Labour people can't have it all ways ! House with no name
  • Score: -5

7:23pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Phantom Poster says...

Robh wrote:
For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.
What do you mean by "old fashioned comment"? Why should something which Swindon's mayor says within earshot of others not be made public? Isn't the mayor a public figure?

This is not "Life on Mars" in reverse. Nick Martin wasn't transported in a time machine in the 60's and put into a Mayor's job in 2014.

I remember working in an office in the eighties where what was said and done would in no way be acceptable nowadays (and rightly so), but it' didn't involve an instantaneous transition. You live life in the decades between and it's a natural adaptation.

The "old fashioned comment" excuse is pathetic. In a personal context he might get away with it, but it's quite obvious that it's totally unacceptable in the job description of a Mayor.

Why did he accept the job of Mayor? It must have been quite obvious to him (and indeed others) that he was patently unqualified.

Robh - you ARE Nick Martin and I claim my prize :-)
[quote][p][bold]Robh[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.[/p][/quote]What do you mean by "old fashioned comment"? Why should something which Swindon's mayor says within earshot of others not be made public? Isn't the mayor a public figure? This is not "Life on Mars" in reverse. Nick Martin wasn't transported in a time machine in the 60's and put into a Mayor's job in 2014. I remember working in an office in the eighties where what was said and done would in no way be acceptable nowadays (and rightly so), but it' didn't involve an instantaneous transition. You live life in the decades between and it's a natural adaptation. The "old fashioned comment" excuse is pathetic. In a personal context he might get away with it, but it's quite obvious that it's totally unacceptable in the job description of a Mayor. Why did he accept the job of Mayor? It must have been quite obvious to him (and indeed others) that he was patently unqualified. Robh - you ARE Nick Martin and I claim my prize :-) Phantom Poster
  • Score: 3

8:33pm Wed 16 Apr 14

BeardyBill says...

Why are certain posters rabidly obsessed with the delusion that anything vaguely anti-Martin is some sort of leftist plot? Is Swindon a hotbed of pinko subversion? Look at the Adver poll, 80%+ think Martin going was the right thing, so it's hardly a vocal minority.

The levels of paranoia on here are staggering - is the Swindon Tory party really so McCarthyist? Get real folks, this is small town politics in Swindon, there isn't an issue with reds under the beds. Frankly, you are making yourselves look ridiculous.

No doubt I'm going to be cast as the spawn of Lenin......
Why are certain posters rabidly obsessed with the delusion that anything vaguely anti-Martin is some sort of leftist plot? Is Swindon a hotbed of pinko subversion? Look at the Adver poll, 80%+ think Martin going was the right thing, so it's hardly a vocal minority. The levels of paranoia on here are staggering - is the Swindon Tory party really so McCarthyist? Get real folks, this is small town politics in Swindon, there isn't an issue with reds under the beds. Frankly, you are making yourselves look ridiculous. No doubt I'm going to be cast as the spawn of Lenin...... BeardyBill
  • Score: 2

8:44pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Phantom Poster says...

Robh wrote:
For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.
You are Nick Martin, aren't you?

Looking at other posts you have made - who do you think you are kidding?
[quote][p][bold]Robh[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.[/p][/quote]You are Nick Martin, aren't you? Looking at other posts you have made - who do you think you are kidding? Phantom Poster
  • Score: 2

9:09pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Davey Gravey says...

It's nice to see that the usual Tory manipulation of this website aint working anymore. Even their thumb fiddling cannot cope with the overwhelming feeling of the majority on this issue.
It's nice to see that the usual Tory manipulation of this website aint working anymore. Even their thumb fiddling cannot cope with the overwhelming feeling of the majority on this issue. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Phantom Poster says...

Robh wrote:
For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.
You've already posted this "word for word" Nick Martin
[quote][p][bold]Robh[/bold] wrote: For goodness sake can you please not continue with this saga. It was an old fashioned comment overheard at a private meeting and should not have been made public. If this is the only way that the local Labour expect to drum up support then it shows their complete lack of integrity.[/p][/quote]You've already posted this "word for word" Nick Martin Phantom Poster
  • Score: 0

11:32pm Wed 16 Apr 14

timt1964 says...

well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them. timt1964
  • Score: -3

2:26am Thu 17 Apr 14

BeardyBill says...

timt1964 wrote:
well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend.
[quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.[/p][/quote]Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend. BeardyBill
  • Score: 2

8:44am Thu 17 Apr 14

Phantom Poster says...

timt1964 wrote:
well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Are you thick or what? Why should l have to lead a spotless life? When I take on the role of mayor then you can rightly hold me to a higher standard.
[quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.[/p][/quote]Are you thick or what? Why should l have to lead a spotless life? When I take on the role of mayor then you can rightly hold me to a higher standard. Phantom Poster
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Thu 17 Apr 14

timt1964 says...

BeardyBill wrote:
timt1964 wrote:
well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend.
the adver is such a crappy little rag full of idiot news for yokels such as you that it really doesnt deserve to receive my wisdom in future.l
[quote][p][bold]BeardyBill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.[/p][/quote]Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend.[/p][/quote]the adver is such a crappy little rag full of idiot news for yokels such as you that it really doesnt deserve to receive my wisdom in future.l timt1964
  • Score: -3

8:59pm Thu 17 Apr 14

BeardyBill says...

timt1964 wrote:
BeardyBill wrote:
timt1964 wrote:
well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend.
the adver is such a crappy little rag full of idiot news for yokels such as you that it really doesnt deserve to receive my wisdom in future.l
Tim, I've rethought my last comment, and I shouldn't have called you a bellend......you are in fact a giant bellend. Now go away, as you are boring me and I suspect many others.

Love you xx
[quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BeardyBill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: well,do mongols have sex or not? im off to buy the adver a cow so they can milk it as much as theyve milked this story.i note the usual perfect people commenting on "martin".good luck to nick martin for the future.hope the idiots on here go on to lead happy spotless lives where they never say anything vaguely controversial as theyre too busy commenting on here and guessing the identity of anyone who dares to disagree with them.[/p][/quote]Tim, you really are a grade 1 bellend.[/p][/quote]the adver is such a crappy little rag full of idiot news for yokels such as you that it really doesnt deserve to receive my wisdom in future.l[/p][/quote]Tim, I've rethought my last comment, and I shouldn't have called you a bellend......you are in fact a giant bellend. Now go away, as you are boring me and I suspect many others. Love you xx BeardyBill
  • Score: -1

10:03pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Noah's Ark says...

He should resign as a Councillor as well. Shocking language in the 21st Century. Totally unacceptable
He should resign as a Councillor as well. Shocking language in the 21st Century. Totally unacceptable Noah's Ark
  • Score: -1

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