SOLIHULL Councillor Ken Hawkins has been suspended after a controversial Tweet about angry Grenfell Tower residents and protesters calling for justice appeared on his account following last week’s tragic event.
Coun Hawkins (Conservative/Blythe) has been suspended from his position as cabinet member for Environment, Housing and Regeneration while an investigation is carried out.
The former Solihull Mayor’s account retweeted a national journalists picture of protesters calling for justice over the fire which engulfed the 24-storey block on Wednesday (June 14) and left at least 79 dead with the caption ‘Lets get ourselves a hangin!”
The tweet was deleted but not before it was screengrabbed and retweeted by others.
He has since issued an apology which reads: “The Grenfell Tower fire is a real tragedy and my thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends. “In this day and age this fire should never have occurred.
“I fully appreciate that my tweet on Friday which related to those protests outside and inside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council offices may have caused offence and I unreservedly apologise for that.
“In no way whatsoever was the short message directed at the unfortunate victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and I am distraught that some people have interpreted it in that way.
“It is vital the reasons behind this tragedy are discovered as soon as possible so that local authorities and housing associations can determine if any urgent remedial action is necassary. It is also vital both the local council, central government and support agencies provide the victims of the fire with all the support they need.”
Following a formal complaint made to the Council about the Tweet Coun Bob Sleigh OBE, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “Like the whole country, I have been shocked and deeply move by the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower.
“Over the weekend the Council received a formal complaint about the actions of a Cabinet Member, Coun Ken Hawkins.
“In light of the complaint related to Coun Hawkins’ comments on social media, an investigation will now take place led by the Council’s Monitoring Officer in line with the Council’s standards procedures.
“I have taken the immediate action to suspend Coun Hawkins from his Cabinet Member position for the Environment, Housing and Regeneration. I will be taking responsibility in the short term for these areas.”