Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 14:00 UK

Council slams 'outrageous' mayor

Peter Davies
Councillors have demanded Mr Davies explain his policies

Councillors in Doncaster have supported a motion criticising the controversial policies of the town's elected mayor.

Since taking office in June, Peter Davies has threatened to cut funds for translation services for immigrants and the town's Gay Pride festival.

He also said the Taliban had introduced "an ordered system of family life".

At a meeting on Thursday, councillors voted to disassociate themselves from "the sometimes outrageous, inflammatory and insulting remarks of Mayor Davies".

The one thing to be said about the Taliban is that they do have an ordered society
One of mayor Peter Davies' controversial statements

A council spokesman said Mr Davies's office was aware of the vote but had not made any comment.

The councillors have demanded assurances that he recognises "the rich diversity of interests, race and faiths" of people in Doncaster.

If he failed to do so, councillors warned Mr Davies they would seek the intervention of the Secretary of State.

Mr Davies, a member of the English Democrats, was voted in on 5 June promising to combat political correctness in local government.

'Parading sexuality'

He immediately cut his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000 and abolished the council's free newspaper, which he accused of "peddling politics".

However, he caused anger when he said he would cut funding to the town's Gay Pride event.

"My policy on gays and lesbians is very simple," he said.

"I don't think councils should be spending money on them parading through town advertising their sexuality."

He has also pledged to end town twinning as a waste of money, joking that he would use his two words of German to tell a visiting delegation "auf wiedersehen [goodbye]".

Last month, he told a national newspaper: "The one thing to be said about the Taliban is that they do have an ordered society of some sort and that they don't have hundreds of cases of children under threat of abuse from violent parents, as we have in Doncaster."

He then described the comments as "hyperbole" to make a point.

'Startling statements'

A formal complaint submitted by a senior equality campaigner about the mayor's policies is being considered by the council.

Mr Davies did not attend Thursday's extraordinary general meeting at which councillors voted 34 to one in favour of the motion criticising him.

Councillors agreed "that this council is concerned that Mayor Davies' first few months in office have been marked by some startling statements and controversial remarks to the media and elsewhere on a range of important and sensitive matters".

They demanded to know precisely what policies and priorities he planned to deliver.

The motion passed by the council requires the mayor and his cabinet "to undertake to recognise the rich diversity of interests, race and faiths of people resident in Doncaster in the formulation of its policies".

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