Stand up so I can look at you, ‘chauvinistic’ Tory councillor told women

·2-min read
Councillor Leigh Higgins
Councillor Leigh Higgins

A Conservative councillor has been suspended after he asked all women to stand up at an awards ceremony so he could look at them.

Leigh Higgins, deputy leader of Melton Borough Council in Leicestershire, was accused of making “chauvinistic” remarks while presenting an honour at the Best of Melton Awards on Friday.

Cllr Higgins had been making a speech about the pandemic and how he had missed attending such events when he asked all female audience members to stand up.

He then allegedly said: “It’s been a while since I’ve seen a sight like that”, which prompted a backlash on social media.

Melton Borough Council has since confirmed Cllr Higgins has been suspended by the Conservatives pending an internal investigation.

Debbie Longley, who was at the event to pick up an award on behalf of a friend, said she was outraged when the politician asked the women in the room to stand up so he could praise them on their attire.

She took to Facebook to brand him a “sexist, chauvinistic tool” and said she was “not there to be ogled by anyone”.

She wrote: “Lovely evening at Best of Melton Awards.

“However, if you want confirmation that some people still live in the Dark Ages; Councillor Leigh Higgins just asked all the ladies to stand up so we could be seen as it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to ‘enjoy’ those kinds of sights!!! (Needless to say, I didn’t stand up).

“It’s a business and community event you absolute sexist, chauvinistic tool. Plus, I am not there to be ogled by anyone!

“He also told us how he nearly lost his multi-million pound business and had to go on to [Jobseekers Allowance], and that some other millionaires had to have food parcels. My heart bleeds.”

Another audience member said: “I assumed he was going to ask the men to stand up after the women, which would still have been strange, but no! I couldn’t believe it!”

A spokeswoman for Melton Borough Council said: “The council has been notified by the leader of the Conservative group that Councillor Leigh Higgins has been suspended from the group for 21 days pending an investigation following comments made at the Best of Melton Awards.

“The council is unable to comment on any investigations currently under way.”

Cllr Higgins could not be contacted for comment.

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