Parish chairman in Stratford-upon-Avon is forced to resign over racist emails

A parish council chairman has resigned after 100 villagers descended on a council meeting to demand he stepped down over racist, homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic emails he sent to a colleague.

Councillor Chris Clews stepped down from his role as council chair at Sambourne Parish Council in Stratford-upon-Avon after a series of vile messages were exposed by a whistleblower. 

Video footage shows members of the public berating Dr Clews, shouting out and jeering during the meeting while one resident began reading out the offending emails. 

The doctor and former physicist sent a fellow councillor emails containing racial slurs and even Holocaust denial – an arrestable offence in 16 European countries but not in the UK.

He also wrote how Enoch Powell – an MP made famous by his Rivers of Blood speech criticising immigration in the UK – was ‘wrongly vilified’ and claimed ‘the blacks’ were allowed ‘disproportionate rights’.

Dr Clews complained in other emails about too many ‘bloody limp-wrists’ and ‘bristle-chinned women’ about.

Councillor Chris Clews (pictured at the meeting on Monday evening) stepped down from his role as council chair at Sambourne Parish Council in Stratford-upon-Avon after a series of vile messages were exposed by a whistleblower

Councillor Chris Clews (pictured at the meeting on Monday evening) stepped down from his role as council chair at Sambourne Parish Council in Stratford-upon-Avon after a series of vile messages were exposed by a whistleblower

Councillor Chris Clews (pictured at the meeting on Monday evening) stepped down from his role as council chair at Sambourne Parish Council in Stratford-upon-Avon after a series of vile messages were exposed by a whistleblower

He is also alleged to have used derogatory terms discussing villagers, describing them as queers, t**ts, tossers, a**eholes, pieces of sh*t and p**sheads.

He even joked: ‘Christ, there’s enough here to get me locked up!’

Despite police investigating the emails Stratford-on-Avon District Council said it had no power to demand Dr Clews’s resignation.

This was because ‘a significant proportion of the most offensive emails’ were not written in his official capacity as parish chair.

Dr Clews initially apologised but refused to resign and instead stated his intention to step down next May.

But following a heated council meeting, Dr Clews eventually offered his begrudging resignation following uproar from members of the public.

Around 100 people attended the meeting which was suspended at one point due to the anger caused by Dr Clews’s refusal to immediately resign. 

Around 100 people attended the meeting which was suspended at one point due to the anger caused by Dr Clews's refusal to immediately resign. Pictured, villagers gathered afterwards to discuss the events of the evening

Around 100 people attended the meeting which was suspended at one point due to the anger caused by Dr Clews's refusal to immediately resign. Pictured, villagers gathered afterwards to discuss the events of the evening

Around 100 people attended the meeting which was suspended at one point due to the anger caused by Dr Clews’s refusal to immediately resign. Pictured, villagers gathered afterwards to discuss the events of the evening

Speaking afterwards Dr Clews, who has been parish chairman for 20 years, said he was not a Holocaust denier but someone with an interest in the Second World War.

He said: ‘Many of the emails were sent when I was not acting as chairman of the parish council. They were personal views and so were ruled out by the monitoring officer because I was not in capacity.

‘They were private emails leaked to weaken my position in Sambourne. I consider that the whole issue has been vexatious. Of course I regret those emails.’

Dr Clews (pictured) said he was not a Holocaust denier

Dr Clews (pictured) said he was not a Holocaust denier

Dr Clews (pictured) said he was not a Holocaust denier

The derogatory emails were sent between the end of 2019 and 2020 by the chairman before being leaked to members of the public.

It is claimed 162 emails were circulated between the chair and individuals, some being parish councillors.

Dr Clews had earlier told the meeting: ‘Further to an extensive independent investigation the monitoring officer at Stratford District Council has found that I have breached Sambourne Parish Council’s code of conduct by treating others with disrespect in sending a number of offensive emails in my capacity as parish councillor.

‘The monitoring officer also found that in doing so I have brought my role as chairman and the parish council itself into disrepute.

‘I accept these findings and wish to offer a full and unreserved apology for my conduct and also for any upset I have caused to others.

‘It was never my intention that these emails should have been received by anyone other than the recipient but I am not proffering that as an excuse for causing offence.

‘Some of my emails contain comments and criticisms referring to individuals by name. Those individuals would probably have found my comments offensive had they received them directly from me.’

It is claimed 162 emails were circulated between the chair and individuals, some being parish councillors. Pictured, the meeting descended into chaos

It is claimed 162 emails were circulated between the chair and individuals, some being parish councillors. Pictured, the meeting descended into chaos

It is claimed 162 emails were circulated between the chair and individuals, some being parish councillors. Pictured, the meeting descended into chaos

Speaking afterwards, Philip Bond, a former police detective and Sambourne councillor, who exposed the emails, said: ‘They do not represent me and I hope, members of Sambourne parish, that they don’t represent you either.

‘Forget your dog poo on the lawn, forget your planning applications, this is something far more fundamental: this is about decency, transparency.

‘If you are a councillor and you come across poor behaviour, inappropriate behaviour, you are duty-bound to call it out.

‘I called it out – I am the whistleblower. He has been found guilty of sending these odious and grossly offensive emails. The evidence speaks for itself.

Ikra Marlow (pictured), 24, who is of mixed race and lives in the village, said: 'I've been in the village for a long time. We're in 2021 - we don't bring race and sexism into things any more. For something like this to happen here is a massive thing'

Ikra Marlow (pictured), 24, who is of mixed race and lives in the village, said: 'I've been in the village for a long time. We're in 2021 - we don't bring race and sexism into things any more. For something like this to happen here is a massive thing'

Ikra Marlow (pictured), 24, who is of mixed race and lives in the village, said: ‘I’ve been in the village for a long time. We’re in 2021 – we don’t bring race and sexism into things any more. For something like this to happen here is a massive thing’

Following a heated council meeting, Dr Clews (pictured centre) eventually offered his begrudging resignation following uproar from members of the public

Following a heated council meeting, Dr Clews (pictured centre) eventually offered his begrudging resignation following uproar from members of the public

Following a heated council meeting, Dr Clews (pictured centre) eventually offered his begrudging resignation following uproar from members of the public

‘If we were anywhere else apart from our lovely country – Austria, Germany and 16 European countries – he would be arrested.’

Mr Bond, who spent 30 years in the police force, said he had ‘never witnessed such arrogance’.

He added: ‘Dr Clews clearly thinks this is his personal fiefdom run exclusively by white males who do not understand the diverse society we live in today. If they are representatives of human society then that disturbs me to the core.’

Ikra Marlow, 24, who is of mixed race and lives in the village, said: ‘I’ve been in the village for a long time. We’re in 2021 – we don’t bring race and sexism into things any more. For something like this to happen here is a massive thing.

‘I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people of different ethnicities in saying that it’s really important that people realise this is not right. We don’t want our kids growing up around something like this.’

Speaking afterwards, Philip Bond (pictured), a former police detective and Sambourne councillor, who exposed the emails, said: 'They do not represent me and I hope, members of Sambourne parish, that they don't represent you either'

Speaking afterwards, Philip Bond (pictured), a former police detective and Sambourne councillor, who exposed the emails, said: 'They do not represent me and I hope, members of Sambourne parish, that they don't represent you either'

Speaking afterwards, Philip Bond (pictured), a former police detective and Sambourne councillor, who exposed the emails, said: ‘They do not represent me and I hope, members of Sambourne parish, that they don’t represent you either’

Mr Bond, who spent 30 years in the police force, said he had 'never witnessed such arrogance'

Mr Bond, who spent 30 years in the police force, said he had 'never witnessed such arrogance'

Mr Bond, who spent 30 years in the police force, said he had ‘never witnessed such arrogance’

A spokesperson for Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: ‘There has been a thorough investigation which established that a significant proportion of the most offensive emails written by Mr Clews were done so privately over a long period of time with the complainant. 

‘The sanctions available to local authorities in England in cases where a councillor is found to have breached their code of conduct is restricted by law.

‘In effect the strongest form of sanction available in most situations is censure: in other words a letter of rebuke.

‘This was made clear to all complainants at the start of the process.’

A Warwickshire Police spokesperson would only confirm: ‘We are aware of these comments and are investigating.’

Extracts from Dr Chris Clews’ leaked emails…

June 4, 2020

‘The lunatics have taken over. Mind you they were invited to by the fact that people from a succession of (harmful) groups and sects were given credibility and the right to existence. And protected by the law.

‘The rot started when Enoch Powell was (wrongly) vilified and discredited. The blacks were allowed disproportionate rights and hate crime (white on black) was enshrined in law.

‘Wonderful stuff this religion. It enables them to inhumanely kill animals, erect eyesore mosques* and make a row like the waiting room at the cats’ castration clinic. Nice bit of grooming – only trash white girls – culprits don’t get named.

‘All this and if a word of criticism or protest is heard… RACIST! and the police jump to it.’

‘Oh dear, I forgot all the other saddoes – all these people who don’t know what bloody sex they want to be… today! There’s so many bloody limp-wrists about… bristle-chinned women too!’

June 6, 2020

‘Holocaust – used to mean many killed especially in a fire – was hijacked and is still going strong after 75 years* And they say six million – they should do the sums first.

‘The Nazis did a load of other things as well as a few Jews. A complete fabrication but it’s a shield… so they can run the BBC and pretty much any sharp practice involving money… and walk away.

‘Christ, there’s enough here to get me locked up!’

November 9, 2020

‘It is bizarre just how much we have been forced/blackmailed/deceived into making allowances for these bloody [people from Pakistan].

‘Mind you* how come all these [people] who were imported from when the Balkans kicked off are still here?

‘We were told that they were only here to be safe and would return when things settled down.

‘Things have settled down and the b*****ds are still here. It is bloody infuriating. We have been USED!’

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