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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007, 02:41 GMT
Tory rebuked for 'cripple' e-mail
A Tory activist has been rebuked by his council leader after sending an e-mail in which he referred to a Labour politician as "the cripple".

The term came in an e-mail sent by John Hawkesworth to the Conservative leader of Bradford City Council, Kris Hopkins.

In the message, obtained by BBC Two's Newsnight, Mr Hawkesworth also calls Mark Taylor, chair of the Bradford Labour Party, a "reptile".

The Conservatives said the matter had been dealt with locally.

Mr Hawkesworth did not deny he sent the e-mail, but said he did not want to comment.

Mr Taylor, who walks with a marked limp, told Newsnight: "For people out there who do not know me at all really to refer to me...as a cripple, I think that is wholly unjustified.

"And if they are talking about that amongst themselves then I am afraid that this veneer of caring Conservatism is simply just a cover."

Push for votes

A copy of the e-mail, which was sent in September, was posted anonymously to Mr Taylor and arrived on Friday.

It came as party leader David Cameron visited Leeds as part of a push to win northern voters.

The e-mail reads: "My brother Peter met the Cripple (our unPC name for Mark Taylor) this afternoon, and he, the Cripple, was pumping Peter about the selection for the PPC.

"I would trust that reptile less than a barrel of monkeys."


Mr Hopkins said he immediately deleted the e-mail from his inbox and told Mr Hawkesworth his language was unacceptable.

"Mr Hawkesworth was informed it was inappropriate language and told never to use such language," he said.

"He agreed with me that this is not the sort of language that David Cameron would approve of."

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Some of the comments in this e-mail are obviously offensive and that is why Kris Hopkins... rebuked John Hawkesworth at the time it was sent.

"John Hawkesworth accepted it was inappropriate."

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