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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
BNP letter councillor suspended
A British National Party councillor from Epping Forest has been suspended for a letter which made "derogatory" remarks about ethnic groups.

Councillor Terry Farr sent the letter to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and the head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), Trevor Phillips.

The CRE made an official complaint to the Standards Board for England, which upheld one of the complaints.

On Tuesday Mr Farr said his three-month suspension was in breach of his rights.

'Hurtful' comments

Speaking to BBC Radio Essex he said: "The decision of the standards board in this matter is perverse and above the power that exists within their framework.

"Not only does this affect my duties as a elected councillor but also breaches my rights as a EU citizen."

The Standards Board carried out an inquiry after the CRE complained about a letter sent by Mr Farr in July 2004.

The board upheld one complaint against Mr Farr but dismissed a number of other allegations.

Training offer refused

Last week Epping Forest District Council upheld the board's decision and imposed a three month suspension on Mr Farr.

Adjudication sub-committee chairman Dr Derek Hawes said Mr Farr's "derogatory references to ethnic minorities" were "hurtful" to minority groups.

Epping Forest District Council said Mr Farr was offered a reduced suspension if he agreed to equal opportunities and race equality training, but he refused the offer.

Mr Farr, who has worked as a councillor for just over a year, has 21 days to appeal against his suspension.

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