Migrants comment councillor in Milton Keynes wants his old job back

A penitent councillor who made an ill-judged comment about migrants on social media is appealing to his colleagues to re-appoint him to the role he loved.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:14 pm

Ex-serviceman Cllr Terry Baines says he’s done everything asked of him after a Facebook comment in May 2020.

Cllr Baines, who lives in Fishermead, was heavily criticised for the comment. He says he was attempting to debate the issue of immigration but did it in the wrong way.

The councillor, who was recently re-appointed to chair Campbell Park Parish Council, insists he didn’t mean his comment to sound quite like it did.

Veteran Terry Baines, right, with former defence minister Johnny Mercer

At the time he apologised and referred himself to the council’s standards committee.

“I made a big mistake and I understand where people are coming from,” said Cllr Baines (Ind, Campbell Park & Old Woughton).

“I issued a public apology straight away and through many media streams.

“I attended a social media training course and an equality and diversity course.”

The married father, who lives with post traumatic stress disorder following his military service, had also been stripped of the title of the council’s Armed Forces Champion.

He had been praised by all sides of the council chamber for the work he did in promoting the Armed Forces Covenant.

Cllr Baines admits to being hit hard by the decision and says he would love to get it back.

“I won’t be standing for re-election to the borough council next May but I would love to be given the role to promote the covenant among our parish councils and businesses over the next 10 months,” said Cllr Baines.

Cllr Baines says there are an estimated 10,000 ex service personnel living in Milton Keynes ranging from veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War to much more recent conflicts.

The covenant includes guaranteed job interviews, access to housing and medical treatment for mental and physical health issues.

The current champion is Cllr Paul Trendall (Lib Dem, Campbell Park & Old Woughton) who was elevated to serve in the cabinet following the post-election creation of the Lab-Lib Dem Progressive Alliance.

Cllr Baines had resigned from the Conservative party last year but his former group leader, Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury), would look favourably on re-appointing Cllr Baines.

“In principle I think he’s fulfilled what the standards committee has asked and I believe is remorseful,” he said.

Lib Dem leader Cllr Robin Bradburn (Bradwell) said it would be a decision for his group of councillors after a formal request is made.

Labour leader Cllr Pete Marland (Wolverton) was also approached for comment.