By Jenni Davidson
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the resignation of a Brighton and Hove Green councillor.
The petition asks Green MP Caroline Lucas to reprimand Councillor Ben Duncan and call for his resignation as a councillor.
At the time of writing the petition, on website Change.org, had 2,067 signatures.
Councillor Duncan caused outrage by referring to members of the armed forces as “hired killers” in a tweet on Saturday (28 June).
While Dr Lucas has no power as an MP to discipline councillors, she responded to the petition in a comment on the website.
The MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “Thank you for raising your concerns about a tweet sent by Cllr Ben Duncan.
“As I made clear when I first became aware of the tweet, I find Cllr Duncan’s actions completely unacceptable.
“I immediately called on him to apologise for the offence and distress he has caused.
“I also called on the local Green party to take disciplinary action and that process in now under way.
“I have demanded that Cllr Duncan stand down as a Green councillor too.
“I have a huge appreciation for the role played by the individual men and women who belong to our armed forces. Cllr Duncan’s comments do not reflect the Green Party’s position or mine.
“Although my own role is completely separate from that of the city council and its councillors, I’d like to use this opportunity to offer my own sincere apologies for the understandable anger and distress Cllr Duncan’s insensitive comments have caused.”
Conservative councillor Graham Cox believes the issue should be left up to the electorate at the next election.
He said on Twitter: “For the record I do not think @KemptownBen should resign for writing prattish things on twitter. Vote him out if you disagree with him.”
Independent councillor Christina Summers teased Councillor Cox about his stance. She pointed out that the number of people who had signed the petition was greater than the number who voted for him when he won his seat in a by-election two and a half years ago.
Yesterday she tweeted to Councillor Cox: “U’ll like this: u believe the people shd decide. Well you were elected on 1027 votes in 2011; petition agnst Ben stands at > 1700.”
A formal disciplinary process against Councillor Duncan by the Brighton and Hove Green Party began yesterday (Monday 1 July).
The Queen’s Park councillor has apologised for the tweet.