‘Bitch-gate’ councillor stands down as equalities committee lead

Posted On 02 Nov 2020 at 5:46 pm

A councillor who branded a colleague a “bitch” in an online meeting – unaware that she could be heard – has stepped down from her leading role on the council’s equalities committee.

Councillor Carmen Appich

Labour councillor Carmen Appich made the comment at a housing management panel when her former party colleague, Councillor Kate Knight, now an independent, joined the meeting.

More than 70 people were taking part in the meeting using Zoom software when the remark was made.

Participants usually “mute” themselves when they are not speaking but Councillor Appich could clearly be heard.

The episode – branded “bitch-gate” – is understood to have become the subject of a formal complaint under Brighton and Hove City Council’s standards procedure.

Councillor Appich emailed a public apology to everyone at the meeting, which was not listed on the council’s calendar of meetings held in public.

She has also stepped down from the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture (TECC) Committee, having previously been the chair.

She has spoken for Labour on the committee since the Greens took charge of the council in the summer.

Councillor Appich wrote: “I am deeply sorry for my unprofessional and inappropriate language at the housing management panel meeting on Thursday 1 October 2020.

“I very much regret the offence I caused to Councillor Knight and to all of you on the call.

“I will not make any excuses. My behaviour was inexcusable.

“I called Councillor Knight and wrote to her last week to apologise directly but I’m following up in writing to all who attended that meeting so you know I’m well aware of the seriousness of what I did.

“This was a horrible mistake and I want to assure you this won’t happen again.

“I deeply regret the anguish and upset I have caused Councillor Knight and any of you.”

Councillor Kate Knight

Councillor Knight said: “I do not want to comment specifically on any incident. There is a formal complaints procedure that deals with the conduct of elected members and that should be allowed to run its course.

“However, I would like to say that, regardless of political differences, there is no place in public life for personal insults, slurs or abusive and discriminatory language.

“Such behaviour brings political parties and politicians into disrepute, especially at a time when there is already little faith in politics more widely.

“And as my mother always taught me, such language says far more about the person using it than it ever does about whoever is on the receiving end.”

Councillor Knight resigned from the Labour Party in July when she was facing suspension after being reported for anti-semitism over a number of posts on social media.

She strenuously denied the claims and said: “I abhor anti-semitism which, along with all other forms of racism, is a scourge that blights our society and every political party.

“I am not anti-semitic and I regret if anything I posted caused distress as this was not my intention.”

Councillor Nancy Platts

In response to the “bitch-gate” furore, Labour leader Nancy Platts said: “I was obviously shocked and disappointed to hear that this happened.

“It was unacceptable and below the standards I’d expect of any councillor.”

Councillor Platts added: “Councillor Appich has apologised in writing to all attendees of the meeting.

“She has also stepped aside from her role on the TECC Committee.”

  1. Jenny Mulligan Reply

    HOW DARE Cllr Knight put in a complaint about anyone after the racist posts she shared on socila media.

    She should have resigned as a councillor and Nancy Platts should have been pushing for that from the outset.

    • Carole Reply

      Well said!!

    • Luke Reply

      You are absolutely right Jenny. It does show the sheer moral sanctimony of some of those on the hard left doesn’t it?

      Carmen’s slip of a tongue is unfortunate. But Carmen will forever be worth far more than the racist-apologists that make up her detractors.

  2. Margaret Swinson Reply

    What a disgusting and misogynistic comment from a Councillor. The Labour Party in Brighton and Hove has councillors who engage in disgraceful abuse in a public forum. How can she remain as Head of Equalities – after engaging in this abuse of another Councillor in a public meeting ? She must resign immediately surely ?

    I heard there are 6 other complaints of abuse by Labour Councillors in Brighton and Hove and a meeting took place to hear and decide upon these acts of abuse. Has it been posted on here because I’d like to understand why a clique of Labour Councillors believe they can engage in abuse of others.

    I’m a voter, like many others and want to understand what is happening.

    • Joy Robinson Reply

      Did you read the article, Carmen resigned from that committee. Mind you Kate Knight is one of the three councillors being investigated for suspected antisemitism…

      • Margaret Swinson Reply

        She needs to resign as a Councillor. How dare she use that language in a public meeting.

        Are you suggesting that an allegation against Councillor Knight justifies misogynistic and abusive language in a public forum ?

        Councillor Appach must be removed. No idea what the Labour Party thinks about this but to my mind she should be disciplined. I would say the same against any Councillor – I don’t care which party.

        • Jenny Mulligan Reply

          By that logic so should Cllrs Kate Knight, Anne Pissaridou and Nikkie Brennan for actual antisemitism.

          And not forgetting the Momentum meeting where Cllr Knight called a disabled member “gollum”.

          • Margaret Swinson

            That doesn’t make sense. Both can complain about each other’s conduct if it breaches the standard required of a Councillor.

            The fact that an allegation has been made against Councillor Knight (which she appears to dispute) does not deprive of her right to complain about the conduct of another Councillor.

        • Luke Reply

          Mrs Swinson, I don’t believe Kate Knight disputes the allegations of racism that she was subjected to. She was severely apologetic in her statement announcing her resignation from the Labour Party.

      • Phil L Reply


    • Jill Stevens Reply

      Labelled bitchgate only by this newspaper in order to sensationalise a non story. Cllr Appich is a fine councillor and works very hard for her ward and the whole city. Who has never muttered such an epithet after a heated debate? Ridiculous over blowing of a nothing for which Cllr Appich has apologised profusely.

  3. Vote 'em out Reply

    Cllr Appich calling someone else a bitch by the beach. Appich will pitch: ‘Sorry’. Let’s face it, the LP is a sad joke. Get’em out. Starting by the potty mounth. She should be a role model, not a local hustler.

  4. Nathan Adler Reply

    Nancy quick to condemn Appich but barely a word about fellow momentum councillors Brennan, Knight and Pissadoru. Labour really is a shower in Brighton

  5. Phil L Reply

    Oh gosh! Now we know who disgraced Cllr Appich was on a call with (her mini-me). The LP is a loony shame! Disgraced Cllr Appich should be a role model not, a local hustler.

  6. Julia Hamblin Reply

    The only thing she is sorry for is that she was caught saying it !

  7. Jenny Mulligan Reply

    “In response to the “bitch-gate” furore, Labour leader Nancy Platts said: “I was obviously shocked and disappointed to hear that this happened.

    “It was unacceptable and below the standards I’d expect of any councillor.”

    Odd that Nancy thinks that antisemitic social media posts is somehow not “below the standards” that she’d expect of any councillor.

  8. Heather Liardet Reply

    Councillor Knight has always conducted herself with great dignity and is a very conscientious Councillor, taking her role seriously and working to improve conditions for her ward residents. It is a shame that Councillor Appich hasn’t aspired to the same and felt it appropriate to use such disgusting language about a fellow Councillor.

    • Alison Dean Reply

      Councillor Carmen Appich has not only aspired to improve local conditions and facilities for her constituents, but has done so. Aspiration is one thing – achievement is another.

      • Margaret Swinson Reply

        She also appears to engage in the worst sort of misogynistic abuse. I would expect this nonsense from right wing thugs … but a Councillor ? I don’t think she should continue in office.

        • Jenny Mulligan Reply

          Strange how you aren’t calling for Kate Knight’s resignation for being a racist.

      • Heather Liardet Reply

        I hope you are not implying Councillor Knight has not achieved anything. Her record speaks for itself in the ward. She certainly hasn’t sat around taking the Labour vote for granted.

      • Heather Liardet Reply

        Are you suggesting Councillor Knight has not achieved anything? From someone who knows Councillor Knight, this is a very mean spirited comment Alison. You know with what energy she throws herself into projects and good causes.

    • Luke Reply

      Mrs Liardet, Councillor Knight was found in the summer to be a disgusting racist whose actions resulted in the fall of the Labour Council, an unprecedented action that has never before taken place in the history of Brighton and Hove Local Government. So please excuse the sanctimony. Carmen will continue to play a very valuable role in the Labour Party long after all the racist-apologists have cleared out and gone.

    • Jenny Mulligan Reply

      Kate was a guest at your wedding recently wasn’t she, Heather?

      • Heather McKenzie Reply

        I am proud to call her a good friend and have no problem defending her against these attacks. I don’t know who you are and you have no business pronouncing on who was at my wedding. I imagine you do not know Councillor Knight personally and therefore your comments are ill founded.

  9. Margaret Swinson Reply

    I don’t know anything about such matters but how was this Councillor selected to have a role that involves overseeing equality ? Her attitude appears to be deeply rooted in misogyny.

  10. Michael mckenzie Reply

    Jenny mulligan – your third paragraph about nancy’s stance on AS is pure supposition and you should retract it.

    • Jenny Mulligan Reply

      Show me where Nancy called out Knight’s antisemitism with: “It was unacceptable and below the standards I’d expect of any councillor.” and I’ll retract. But she hasn’t.

  11. Ad The Lad Reply

    Laughing at all your ridiculous naval staring from my view of the Wye Valley. You all spend so much time worrying about one poor choice of words when the city is falling about your ears Ladies. Bit of perspective please and get on with rooting out the Jew haters in the council.

    • Hendrik Reply

      Absolutely right. There are far more nasty words used than “bitch”, and no doubt some of the antisemitic remarks made by those under investigation were a lot worse. Since Cllr Knight has had to quit following those that she made, neither she, nor the totally incompetent Platts, have anything to complain about. And why is the investigation taking so long?

  12. Daniel Harris Reply

    There is a huge difference between investigation because of a concerted effort to smear and actual caught red handed, still allies of Carmen deflect the age old technique. Boring now. oouch with Daniel Yates also up for innapropriate language will the moderates ever learn? Joy you must be gutted for your bestie though, Where thick as theives at branch meetings, you and carmen that is… send her my best wishes at this awful time.

    Kate did the right thing resigning from the labour party, its full of moderates who are nasty to the core. Kate is a women of dignity and someone who is making a difference in the community. Sorry to keep seeing your name dragged into negative articles.

    Shows how cowardly you lot are always nice as pie to our faces.

    If bullying working class counillors out of the party wasnt enough now it plays out in front of resident’s at an area panel.

    Pathetic and the reason why Labour lost control of the council. Thank goodness for the cities sake.

    • Jenny Mulligan Reply

      Bore off, Daniel.

      From what I have read, your online behaviour leaves a lot to be desired and is very well documented.

      Any political party is better off without you in its ranks.

  13. Andy Richards Reply

    It is helpful that on this very page is a link to the article about the tweets which got Kate Knight reported for “anti-semitism”. It reminds us that there was nothing remotely anti-Semitic about any of them.

    Try asking Kate Knight’s constituents if they think she is a “racist”. Of course they don’t….because she isn’t!

    In addition to these outrageous accusations, she now has to face personal abuse in meetings. Disgusting. I’m amazed at the dignity with which she puts up with it all.

    • Luke Reply

      Do you continue to sit on the Hove CLP Executive Committee Andy? Your dismissive, crass and blaze attitude towards antisemitism is the exact attitude that led to the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn last week. I suspect you will find yourself suspended soon also.

      • Andy Richards Reply

        Oh do bore off Luke, you racist,sexist crank. It must have come as such a shock to everyone who knows you that you see nothing wrong with a term of misogynistic abuse.

        Have you modified your attitude to Romany people Luke? Or do you still regard them as a “blight”?

        How’s suspension working out for you so far?

      • Mike liardet Reply

        You need to get out more Luke. All those miserable hours spent poring over five year old facebook posts have clearly scrambled your brain. And how many cases are there on file for your suspension from Labour? I’ve lost count.

        • Luke Stanger Reply

          Hi Mike. I’m perfectly happy with my life mate. I’ve recently graduated from a Russell Group university with a 2:1 and am now on the job hunt looking to the future with optimism and confidence.

          Furthermore, I take pride in my anti-racism activities that’s helped to expose the racist sewer the labour party in this city, that I’ve devoted so much of my life to, has sadly sunk into in recent years. If you wish to defend the distorted & racist views of some that have caused such distress towards our city’s Jewish community then you must do so on your own conscience.

          I suspect you will see my factionally-motivated suspension concluded soon. I have been overwhelmed by the levels of support I’ve received in this city alone, with character references from the past 4 Labour Council Leaders, my local MP & very many present CLLRs.

  14. Bradly Reply

    How did she “brand” her? What was the tone of voice used ?

  15. Debbie Taylor Reply

    I wish to give my full support to Councillor Kate Knight. I have never met someone within the local Labour Party who truly walks her talk in the way she unfailingly does. The hard work and energy Kate brought to my branch, encouraging, supporting and increasing active involvement of members, particularly women, was second to none. I know I was one of them. She continues to tirelessly work and make a difference in the ward she represents. I for one can’t thank her enough, in my opinion a great and inspiring role model…..who sadly perhaps some feel threatened by

    • Jenny Mulligan Reply

      You’re talking about Cllr Kate Knight? The one with two properties? Yeah, she walks the socialist walk alright.

      • Andy Richards Reply

        aaaand there it is folks. The smoking gun which proves what a terrible person is.

        Two properties……wow!

        Still no examples of any racism though…..

  16. Rolivan Reply

    The usual Apologies made however will lessons be learnt?

  17. Jenny Mulligan Reply

    Strange how you aren’t calling for Kate Knight’s resignation for being a racist.

    • Andy Richards Reply

      When has she ever been a racist? Point me to something racist she’s ever said or written.

      • Andy Richards Reply

        Still waiting…..

  18. Pingback: Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn – Stop the ‘Anti-Semitism’ Witchhunt - Tony Greenstein

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