Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tory mayor faces calls to resign after claiming Hitler had the ‘right idea’ about travellers
London – A mayor has provoked outrage by allegedly claiming Adolf Hitler had the ‘right idea’ about dealing with Germany’s gipsies.
Mike Eckersley is said to have made the remarks at a council equalities meeting, which was immediately halted.
Fellow councillors called for him to quit and for David Cameron to throw him out of the Tory party.
Mr Eckersley, who is mayor of Prestatyn in North Wales, has offered an apology, claiming he simply referred to the Nazis rather than praised them.
However, Christine Evans, an independent councillor who chaired the meeting, said he had spoken of how Hitler got rid of the gipsies.
‘He definitely used the term Hitler when talking about the traveller issue and the thrust was suggesting that we should move the travellers out the country,’ she said.
An estimated 220,000 gipsies were murdered in the gas chambers or worked to death during the Second World War.
Mrs Evans halted the meeting and told the mayor he should retract his ‘heat of the moment’ comments or be thrown out.
Fellow Prestatyn councillor Peter Duffy, who is of Romany descent, said: ‘These comments are shocking. Hitler had gipsies gassed or experimented on – he can’t say something like that and stay on as our mayor.’
Denying a racist slur, Mr Eckersley said: ‘We have to work with travellers, it’s as simple as that.
‘I agree I could have worded what I said better and I apologise if I have caused any offence.’