A Tory councillor has been suspended for a Facebook post accused of mocking women’s struggles in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.
Responding to Baroness Jones’ suggestion of a 6pm curfew for men, Plymouth councillor Mark Deacon posted an image of himself wearing a floral dress and long black wig.
“If the Green Party and some Labour Party politicians get their way and impose this ridiculous 6pm curfew on men, then I’m going to wear my dress more often,” he wrote.
The insensitive post attracted immediate criticism online, with trans woman Isolde O’Shannon slamming the councillor for giving “ammunition” to transphobes.
“Trans women have enough problems with being recognised. We have anti-trans people claiming that we put cis women at risk, that men can can just dress as women to enter women’s safe spaces as it is,” she commented on his post.
“Thank you for giving them ammunition, and making my life even more difficult, by playing dress up, mocking women, and mocking my rights… I can only assume you are one of the men we are all scared of.”
As voices across the political spectrum condemned the problem of male violence highlighted by Sarah Everard’s murder, Conservatives quickly moved to distance themselves from the offensive councillor.
By Monday (15 March) the party confirmed he’d been suspended with immediate effect and is now subject to an internal investigation.
“The Plymouth Conservative Council Group decided the most appropriate course of action was to suspend councillor Deacon for an investigation to take place into his actions,” group leader Nick Kelly told the Daily Mail.
“This investigation will be in accordance with our group rules and shall commence as soon as possible.”
Deacon’s suspension was welcomed by Plymouth Labour’s councillor Sally Haydon, who said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see a senior councillor make a mockery of women’s deeply-felt worries about the issue of male violence.
“It is not befitting of the office of councillor and a member of the shadow cabinet of this council to poke fun at concerns of this nature.
“I welcome his suspension and I hope councillor Mark Deacon will take some time to reflect on the anger his post has generated, to properly understand why it has caused such offence and offer a full apology for his actions.”
The councillor has since deleted the post and issued a brief apology on Facebook.
“I wholeheartedly apologise for the comments that I made on a post this Saturday afternoon,” he wrote. “I didn’t intend any offence that my comments might have caused to a section of the public.”