Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Party axes Sunderland 'rape joke' councillor

Eddie Wake
Eddie Wake was elected to Sunderland City Council in May 2008

A Sunderland city councillor has been expelled from his party after he made offensive comments about rape at a meeting.

Conservative party chiefs said comments by Washington South member Eddie Wake, 56, at the end of a meeting with police, were "totally unacceptable".

Senior party officials expelled him from the Conservative group on Monday.

Mr Wake said he intended to stay on as a councillor and regretted his "lapse of judgement".

At least three councillors reported Mr Wake to his party and to Sunderland Council's standards committee, after he cracked what was described as a "sick joke" at the close of a recent meeting with police about a rape prevention campaign.

The other 21 Conservative councillors on Sunderland City Council feel very let down
Lee Martin, Sunderland Council Tory group leader

On Monday evening Mr Wake appeared before senior Tory party officials and was dismissed from Sunderland's Conservative group.

Group leader Lee Martin said: "When I ask anyone to go out and vote for a Conservative candidate, I've got a minimum expectation, should that person be elected, of how they conduct themselves.

"Eddie Wake has come in well below that standard and as a result is no longer a Conservative councillor.

"We have no sanction to suspend him from council, but there is a complaint in with the standards board and the council can do that if they see fit.

"As soon as the comments were reported to me I brought Eddie in and told him in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable and what the likely consequences would be.

"The other 21 Conservative councillors on Sunderland City Council feel very let down by Eddie."

Mr Wake said: "I intend to remain as a councillor pending the outcome of a standards committee investigation.

"I hope my constituents will judge me on the work I have done for them in the past and not on a single lapse of judgement.

"I want to continue to work for the constituents of Washington South."

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