Councillor investigated for advocating use of water cannons on anti-racist protestors

Cllr Glenn Williams has been investigated after complaints were made against his “inappropriate” tweets, one in which he referred to “swarms” of “illegal immigrants”.

Coventry City Council House

Glenn Williams, an independent Coventry City councillor, has been recommended for formal censure after complaints were made against him relating to past comments made on Twitter.

The Council’s Ethics Committee publicised its finding on Friday after conducting an investigation into Williams following the June 2020 complaint.

Eight complainants allege Williams is a “known racist, xenophobe, misogynist and homophobe”, citing a number of tweets as examples of his behaviour.

Two tweets are referenced in particular, one in which Williams reportedly advocates the use of a water cannon on anti-racist protestors, and a second referring to “swarms” of “illegal immigrants” coming to the UK.

The complainants felt that the Councillor’s beliefs, as expressed on social media and in council meetings, make it “inappropriate” for him to be an elected member.

The Ethics Committee concluded that it considers Williams’ tweets as “offensive and inflammatory”, continuing that this was confirmed by a reply to his tweet which suggested that “machine guns should be used on protestors.”

The Committee went on to describe the tweets as “divisive and disrespectful”, with the investigation finding Williams had “crossed the threshold of what is acceptable behaviour by an elected member.”

A “pattern of behaviour” had been identified by the Committee in light of previous comments the councillor had made.

Earlier in the year, the councillor came under fire for branding the LGBT community as “promiscuous”, with an independent report later findings that his remarks did not breach council rules.

The Bablake ward councillor chose to not formally respond to the most recent allegations as he thought them to be “vexatious” and, according to the Council, wanted details of the eight individuals making accusations against him.

Mr Steve Atkinson, an independent person asked to consult the Committee on the matter, recommended that Williams “non-cooperation with the investigation” meant he had committed a “much greater and clearer breach”.

Mr Atkinson went on to suggest the greater problem was not Williams comments, but the “Council’s reputation that such continued breaches are perceived to be condoned.”

The sanctions available to the Ethics Committee are limited, thus its findings that the councillor refused to “co-operate when scrutinised” and did not “always treat people with respect” merely resulted in their recommendation that Williams is censured.

In reality, even if the Council approve a censure, the councillor will not be reprimanded in any meaningful way for his remarks.