Row over chief’s ‘racist gaffe’

Councillor Andy Dransfield

Councillor Andy Dransfield

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The vice-chairman of the Bucks and MK Fire Authority has been accused of making racist and sexist remarks to a firefighter.

Fire authority member and Milton Keynes councillor Andy Dransfield is alleged to have dropped a series of non-PC clangers during an official visit to Great Holm Fire Station.

The veteran Tory, well-known for his outspokenness, is said to have made a beeline for a black firefighter and shook his hand.

A source claimed the ensuing one-sided conversation was as follows.

Mr Dransfield: “You’re the first one I’ve seen.”

The firefighter looked embarrassed but stayed silent.

Mr Dransfield, who represents MK Council on the fire authority, clarified with: “You know.... ethnic minority.”

The firefighter did not respond and Mr Dransfield added: “Now all we need is a woman. Are there any here?”

Mr Dransfield says he was being positive and welcoming.

But the firefighter has now complained to the Fire Brigades Union, whose bosses are conducting a top level investigation.

“We are taking this very seriously and we are supporting our member,” said an FBU spokesman.

A further investigation is being carried out by fire service legal director Graham Britten under the Buckinghamshire and MK fire authority’s code of conduct.

Meanwhile there are calls for Mr Dransfield’s role as a councillor and fire authority member to be scrutinised.

Labour councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “The important thing is that there is an investigation to find out if this is true.

“It is regretable that we live in an age where these things still arise, they should be historical things that we remember from the past, not still happening now.

“If the allegations are found to be correct, it would reflect greatly on all of us regardless of party if we accepted this as normal behaviour.”