A LEADING disability charity has welcomed the decision of the Swindon Mayor to stand down after he was asked to apologise for remarks made last year.
At a meeting last year Coun Martin (Con, Shaw) said: “Are we still letting these Mongols have sex with each other?”
On Tuesday he stood down after a panel found him in breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct. The panel ordered him to apologise, which he has, as well as attending a training course.
Now Mencap has released a statement to the Adver in which it said people who make those remarks should not hold a prestigious position of the mayor.
Ciara Lawrence and Ismail Kaji said: “We, as Mencap spokespeople with a learning disability, welcome the fact the Mayor of Swindon has resigned.
“People like Mr Martin who have these sorts of views about disabled people should not be in those types of positions. Mayors should act as role models for their community, not needlessly insult the people that look up to them.
“People with a learning disability in the community of Swindon will have been deeply affected that their mayor had such disgusting views about them.
“His resignation shows that people are realising that using discriminatory words for disabled people is just as bad as using racist or homophobic words . There is no difference.”
The initial complaint was made last year and there has been criticism from many corners that it took so long for Coun Martin to stand down. The news he had resigned received global coverage, with the story travelling as far as Australia and South America.
In their statement, Ciara and Ismail go on to say it is important people learn that people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives and have invited Coun Martin to talk about the issue.
They said: “We have a learning disability and we have families. “We don’t see any difference in the way our families work and anyone else’s.
“We don’t need anyone’s permission, we are equal citizens and we have the right to live our lives in the way we choose. We have great lives. “We feel sad that Mr Martin’s attitude is so ignorant.
“We would like to invite Mr Martin to meet with people with a learning disability at Mencap. We think we could begin to educate him on why his attitude is so wrong.”
Coun Martin was not available to comment.