Two councillors are in the firing line after using racially offensive language at separate meetings.

A Blandford town councillor and a Lyme Regis town councillor both used a racial slur during meetings they attended.

Cllr John Stayt used the 'n' word during a discussion at a Blandford Town Council meeting.

A member of the public who was at the meeting on October 29 quoted Cllr Stayt as saying, "there's a n***** in the wood pile."

Cllr Stayt apologised during and after the meeting and has since written to two youth advisors who were present, all councillors, and a member of public to apologise for any offence caused.

During a public session at a town planning meeting on Monday, Cllr Stayt made another apology for using "politically incorrect" language.

"I have apologised," Cllr Stayt added. "And I would like to make that apology again. I want there to be no doubt as to how sincere that apology was."

Chairman of Blandford Town Council, Cllr Roger Carter also apologised for not handling the situation adequately.

After the slur had been made, Cllr Nocturin Lacey-Clarke asked him to leave the meeting however, Cllr Carter said no clear proposal for his removal was made so continued the meeting.

On Monday, Cllr Carter said: "The shock of the moment combined with not hearing exactly what was said constrained my response. We at the council abhor and will not tolerate any behaviour that will bring the council into disrepute."

Cllr Stayt is councillor for Riversdale and Portman and also sits on North Dorset District Council.

Meanwhile, a complaint has been lodged against a Lyme Regis town councillor for using a racial slur during a meeting earlier this year – which fellow councillors said had been 'buried'.

Cllr Cheryl Reynolds, who also sits on West Dorset District Council, used the ‘n’ word during a town council meeting in April.

The town council confirmed the term was used ‘in the context of a formerly-used phrase’ and said Cllr Reynolds issued a written apology to her fellow councillors the following morning.

However, at a heated meeting of Lyme Regis Town Council last Wednesday, which Cllr Reynolds was not present, Cllr Jeff Scowen said: "The ‘n’ word was spoken in council. Nothing has been done, nothing has been said – it has been buried. Please do not ignore it, we should look at it."

Fire chief Virgil Turner spoke during the public forum to demand the issue be investigated and to issue a formal complaint.

A spokesman for Dorset Councils Partnership (DCP), said it was aware of one complaint in relation to the use of racially offensive language but the procedure to notify the person was still underway and DCP would not be able to comment further at this time.

Head of paid service at DCP, Stuart Caundle said the councils condemned the use of racist language.

Cllr Reynolds did not want to comment.


Dorset Race Equality Council's chief officer Nathalie Sherring said: "At Dorset Race Equality Council we are very disappointed to hear of these incidents in which inappropriate and racially offensive language was used in council meetings.

"Those in public office have a key role to play in championing equality and diversity and need to make sure that their language is inclusive at all times.

"We are unable to comment further without additional details of these incidents. However, we are happy to offer our services to the councils involved in order to meet the training needs of their staff and elected representatives."

Dorset Race Equality Council is a community based organisation that has been working for race equality in Dorset since 1994.