Councillor Bill Baldwin steps down from Wrexham Council Executive Board after investigation started into his sharing of ‘racist’ Facebook posts
UPDATE: Councillor Baldwin has stepped down from Wrexham Council’s Executive Board.
Late this afternoon a series of posts shared by him on Facebook were highlighted.
Cllr Bill Baldwin has told us this evening, “I have voluntarily decided to step down from the Executive board pending the result of an investigation into the matter.”
Cllr Baldwin is a member of Cllr David A Bithell’s Wrexham Independent Group, and until this evening was the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services for Wrexham Council.
Original article below:
Calls have been made for a senior Wrexham councillor to be removed from his position after he was accused of sharing racist material on social media.
Wrexham Council has launched an internal investigation into a number of posts shared by the Facebook account of executive board member Bill Baldwin (pictured above).
An anti-racist group said they were designed to create “prejudice and hostility” towards minorities, including Muslims and immigrants.
They include a meme originally circulated by the West London branch of the far-right British Nationalist Party, along with a separate image titled “How the British have passively succumbed to the Muslim invasion”.
It states there are several “Muslim-only no-go areas” in the UK – a claim which has previously been refuted by the Westminster government and Metropolitan Police.
Meanwhile, a comment shared from his profile written by another Facebook user said: “Many immigrants do contribute to UK society however clearly the majority of Muslim immigrants don’t”.
The posts were brought to the council’s attention after being sent to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service by a concerned member of the public.
Members of the Hope Not Hate group, which campaigns against racism, have now called for Cllr Baldwin to be sacked from his role as the authority’s lead member for children’s services.
A spokesman said: “Based on the evidence presented to us, Councillor Bill Baldwin is unashamedly promoting material designed to stoke racial hatred including vile propaganda from the fascist, far-right British National Party.
“It is inexcusable that a councillor responsible for children’s services is abusing their public position by using social media to distribute racist material.
“Individuals holding public office are in a position of power and responsibility and have a duty to serve all members of their community without prejudice or discrimination and Councillor Baldwin’s behaviour undermines trust in the council’s ability to serve all Wrexham residents fairly and equally.
“Wrexham Council must act immediately to remove him from his post and launch an immediate investigation to determine if others within positions of responsibility were aware of Mr Baldwin’s reprehensible politics.”
Several attempts have been made to contact Cllr Baldwin for comment but he could not be reached at the time of publishing.
Comments in another viral image shared on his profile claim illegal immigrants and refugees are entitled to yearly benefits of £29,900, compared to £6,000 for British pensioners.
The statistics have previously been scrutinised by the House of Commons Library, which said: “the figures quoted bear no relation whatsoever to the situation in the United Kingdom.”
Cllr Baldwin, who is listed as being friends with other executive board members on Facebook, was originally elected to represent the Little Acton ward in 2012 before being appointed to his senior role in May 2017.
He is a member of the Wrexham Independent Group which runs the council in coalition with the Conservatives and another independent group.
A council spokesman said it took all reports of racism seriously and would investigate the posts, which were shared over a number of months in 2018.
She said: “All elected members are subject to social media guidelines and the code of conduct which they must adhere to.
“When instances such as these are brought to our attention which may be in breach of these they will be investigated and appropriate action taken.”
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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