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Barnbrook suspended over 'murder claims'

PUBLISHED: 12:31 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 10:03 11 August 2010

BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook has been suspended from council duties for knowingly making false claims on YouTube that there were three murders in Barking and Dagenham. The London Assembly member, who is second in command on the council s opposition

BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook has been suspended from council duties for "knowingly" making false claims on YouTube that there were three murders in Barking and Dagenham.

The London Assembly member, who is second in command on the council's opposition group, was also blasted for allowing the claims to stay online for four months until February 2009.

He was found to have brought both Barking and Dagenham Council and the GLA into disrepute and was suspended for a month.

Although he escaped a GLA ban, he was ordered to apologise on his online blog and take an ethics and public life course.

Cabinet member Labour Cllr Val Rush told a City Hall hearing she believed he had deliberately lied in an "outrageous" attempt to stir up fear of knife crime while the GLA ruled he had knowingly made the inaccurate claim.

But Cllr Barnbrook maintained he had never intended to mislead the public, saying it would have been "tantamount to political suicide" and blamed his dyslexia for the blunder adding he had spoken too soon.

City Hall criticised his line of defence after it emerged the five-minute video blog filmed in September 2008 had required four separate takes, though it had not been edited before going online.

Cllr Rush, who lodged a complaint against Cllr Barnbrook, told the hearing: "I firmly believe he outrageously and knowingly lied on the video.

"I believe he did that with the firm intention of whipping up fear on the streets of Barking and Dagenham."

The Barking and Dagenham BNP deputy leader maintained he had meant to say one of the victims was from Barking and Dagenham, rather than murdered in the borough, and the other two cases were attempted murders rather than murders.

He repeatedly apologised and told the September 24 hearing: "I don't wallow in self pity. I don't think I should be penalised because of what was a mistake due to disability." The one-month suspension starts tomorrow (Thursday).


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