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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Candidate banned after transphobic comments

A Conservative candidate in the upcoming Darlington local election will not stand after making a transphobic comment online.

Ethan Pugh, 19, was suspended by the party after he commented on a Facebook post of a news story, which reported how a Green Party councillor from London was repeatedly misgendered.

The teenager replied to the story, calling the councillor in question a “wet wipe”, as well as telling people to “forget all this gender bender c**p”.

He was suspended by the party after his comments were exposed but still appeared at the Darlington Conservatives campaign launch at Teesside Airport on Saturday (March 11).

But, after party officials conducted an investigation into the incident, Mr Pugh has now been banned from standing at the election on May 4.

A spokesperson for Darlington Conservative Association said: “After apologising for his recent comments and agreeing to undergo diversity training, Ethan’s suspension has been lifted.

“He will not be a candidate at the local elections in May.”

The news story Mr Pugh was commenting on outlined events in Newham Council, where Danny Keeling, the leader of Newham’s Green Party, left a meeting after being repeatedly misgendered.

Mx Kelling, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, accused colleagues of discrimination after the meeting.

Mr Pugh’s since-deleted comment said: “Wet wipes, the lot of them. Councillors are meant to stand for the greater good. Forget all this gender bender c**p, think of the constituents you are meant to represent.”

He has since apologised for his comments.

Mr Pugh said: “I would like to formally apologize for my actions of March 1. My use of the inappropriate phrase ‘gender bender’ was insensitive, unnecessary, irresponsible, and down to a lapse in judgement.

“I have worked closely with charities which support people in the LGBT+ community for several years, so I understand the difficulties which are faced by many in the community and can understand my comments were offensive.

“I was not attempting to offend anyone and meant no malice. I would like to offer my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this.”

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