A SENIOR councillor who has come under heavy criticism for linking a public meeting chaired by Monmouth MP David Davies with the extermination of Roma gypsies during the Holocaust has resigned.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon (August 29) by Monmouthshire County Council, Cllr Sara Burch, Cabinet member for Inclusive and Active Communities resigned her position with immediate effect.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, in accepting the resignation made the following statement: “I have today with sadness accepted the resignation of Cllr Sara Burch from her role as Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities.
“I acknowledge her genuine regret and apology for her social media post linking the actions of David T C Davies and Cllr Frances Taylor to aspects of the Holocaust. It was wrong and unacceptable.
“Cllr. Burch will be missed from cabinet. She has been a dedicated and hardworking member who had already made a difference in taking forward our affordable housing and active travel priorities. I continue to value her loyalty and unwavering support for the Welsh Labour administration on the County Council. I will not be replacing Cllr Burch and have reassigned her responsibilities to the following cabinet members:
“Cllr. Paul Griffiths, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development takes on Gypsy, Roma and Travellers issues, homelessness, affordable housing delivery and private sector housing as well as trading standards, environmental health, public protection, and licensing.
“Cllr. Catrin Maby, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment will now cover Active Travel and rights of way.
“Cllr. Angela Sandles, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement will take over responsibility for leisure centres, play and sport, tourism development and cultural strategy and public conveniences.”
Earlier this week Welsh Secretary and Monmouth MP David Davies called on the beleaguered councillor to apologise for the ‘deeply offensive’ Tweet in which she accused him and Magor West councillor Frances Taylor, leader of the council’s independent group, of “whipping up anti-traveller feeling”.
Her now deleted comments on X, formerly known as Twitter, were made earlier this month following a public meeting at Magor Baptist Church chaired by Cllr Taylor and attended by Secretary of State for Wales Mr Davies.
Around 200 residents turned up for the meeting on 2 August to discuss the council’s ongoing consideration of potential traveller sites at Langley Close near to the M4 in Magor and land west of Dancing Hill in Undy.
Conservative group leader Cllr Richard John from Mitchel Troy and Cllr Lisa Dymock from Portskewett were also present.
Cllr Burch, who did not attend the meeting, shared a tweet from Travelling Ahead Cymru which marked 2 August as the anniversary of the murder of thousands of Roma and Sinti people held at the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp.
Adding her own comments, Cllr Burch said: “Shameful that on this day @Frances4Magor and @DavidTCDavies were out whipping up anti-traveller feeling in #magorwithundy in advance of consultation about future sites.”
Before announcing her resignation Cllr Burch said she regretted the post, neither Mr Davies nor Cllr Taylor have received an apology.
Mr Davies had written to Cllr Burch stating he believed her words were “malicious and defamatory” to the people of Magor who expressed “reasonable concerns” about what the council is planning in the community.
In his letter, Mr Davies stated: “I call upon you to make another social media statement on X acknowledging there was no prejudice and that contrary to what you said, none of the elected representatives present acted with anything other than integrity and sensitivity.
“If you are prepared to apologise, I would be happy not to take the matter any further.”