The Conservative councillor at the centre of the Hertsmere homophobic row was installed as Mayor for the Borough last night at an ugly meeting where Labour councillors were silenced by the adjournment of the meeting.
Cllr Alan Plancey had given an interview to Jewish News in 2014 which appeared in the video ‘Loud, Proud & Jewish’ where he says “even in the animal kingdom it’s male and female” alluding to the homophobic suggestion that LGBTQ+ people are somehow less than animals. He also said that there would be more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community if they were quiet about it, continuing: “Whether it a Jew or a human being I think the demonstrations that are coming out today for the acceptance of minority rule is completely wrong. You get more acceptance and more love if you did it quietly and would be much more accepted in society.”
Plans for Cllrs Christian Gray and Chris Myers – the Borough’s first openly queer couple – to explain why Cllr Plancey’s beliefs made him unsuitable for the post of first citizen, were thwarted as they were denied a voice and the Conservative majority ensured the appointment.
After the meeting, Cllr Myers said: “If there was any doubt about the new Mayor’s lack of contrition for his use of homophobic language he reaffirmed it in a radio interview he gave at the Council offices last night. Far from any apology for the hurt his words have caused the LGBTQ+ community, his first act as Mayor was to double down with his homophobic tropes. This time conflating homosexuality and paedophilia.
In the interview recorded by BBC Three Counties Radio immediately after the Council meeting, Cllr Plancey was unrepentant. (Interview starts at 2:23)
Cllr Plancey has courted controversy over the years, including sending a letter to then prime minster, David Cameron, on gay marriage saying: “”It is a shame that the standards of morality seem to be dropping all the time and we seem to be legalising everything and anything.”
The latest move by Conservative-led Hertsmere brings into question the authority’s commitment to LGBTQ+ equality in the Borough as they resisted the flying of the flag during Gay Pride last year, failed to support Transgender Week or ensure that the County Council implement government policy on relationship and sex education in local schools.