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Calderdale Councillor facing call to resign over coronavirus email

Calderdale Coun Roger Taylor

A councillor said they were "shocked and lost for words" when they saw the email.

A councillor is facing a call to resign following an email sent to a colleague in response to a coronavirus message.

Calderdale councillor Roger Taylor has been challenged to resign by Coun Rob Holden (Ind, Ryburn) after his response to an email sent by Coun Holden, which included a copy of a social media message from the mother of a teenager who has been seriously ill fighting COVID-19.

Coun Taylor has rejected the criticism as personal and said he was listening to what Calderdale’s Public Health Director and other senior officers, as well as Government advice, was telling him.

Coun Holden said Coun Taylor had emailed him back with a one word reply which said “yawn” and said he was shocked by what seemed to be a lack of compassion and empathy.

He said he had forwarded on the copy of the Northowram, Halifax, mother’s social media posting, which had been widely shared, because he believes its hit on key points regarding the need for social isolation curing the coronavirus epidemic from someone in Calderdale whose family were living with it.

There were quite a few responses from councillors who said thanks for sharing it and the insight it gave, said Coun Holden, but he was astounded at the reply given by Coun Taylor, particularly when it was one of his constituents.

“I was shocked and lost for words, followed by utter anger.

“I cannot understand someone who is supposed to be a community leader giving a response such as that.

“He should have been using that information in a positive way to get it out there about social distancing and isolation if needed.

“Instead he just chose to come back with a derisory remark,” said Coun Holden.

Coun Holden, who shared the initial message and Coun Taylor’s email to him on social media, said Coun Taylor should consider his position and he would be reporting him to Calderdale Council standards today (March 23).

Coun Taylor (Ind Con, Northowram and Shelf) said he believed Coun Holden’s actions were personally motivated and he was not going to comment further on the matter.

Coun Taylor said Calderdale’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher, who was to have retired, had stayed on for the time being to help shape responses to the crisis and he was listening to what Mr Butcher, other senior officers and national Government advice were telling him about the coronavirus epidemic.

Coun Taylor was suspended by the Conservative Party last November amid controversy over allegations of Islamophobia, a decision he questioned.

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