THE CHAFFORD Hundred councillor at the centre of the “Chaffrica” comments on Facebook storm will not be seeking re-election next May.
Cllr Neil Rockcliffe hit the national and international headlines last month when he told friends on the social networking site Facebook that he was “missing being in Chaffrica”.
The former Portfolio Holder then went on to say “Thinking that the scriptwriters of Eastenders must live on Chafford Hundred… Has all the ingredients.. Murderers, rapists, concerned ethnic minorities, gay men etc, etc…”
The comments caused outrage from anti-racism groups and political opponents.
Thurrock’s Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price said at the time: “These comments made by councillor Rockcliffe are unhelpful and could bring the Conservative Party into disrepute”.
Last night, Leader of the Thurrock Conservative Group, Garry Hague issued the following statement:
“Councillor Rockliffe has accepted that he made a grave error in making the posting that he did on his personal face book page. He has made an unreserved apology for any offence that might have been caused.
“The Conservative Party aims to promote the highest standards of conduct amongst its members and the Conservative Group, at its meeting on 2 September, agreed that Cllr Rockliffe would be suspended from the Conservative Group for a period of three months.
“Cllr Rockliffe has also re-iterated that he will not be seeking re-selection for the Chafford & North Stifford ward in the 2011 local elections.”
Many had considered Cllr Rockcliffe’s position as untenable as his ward is home to the fastest growing black middle class in the UK.
Last week, Thurrock Labour flooded the area with a 5000 newsletters slamming the councillor for his comments.