Councillor apologises over skin colour comment

Mr. Walkden: "I’m not a racist person, there is no racist bone in my body" 2nd March 2009: A Conservative councillor whose comment about refugees’ skin colour on the internet attracted strong criticism has apologised.

Roger Walkden said it was "a simple joke".

A complaint was made to Conservative leader David Cameron’s office following the posting of the comment.

Tony Fuller, from the Kent Refugee Action Network, said he was surprised a councillor had made a posting which could offend many people, BBC reported.

Mr. Walkden, who represents the Maxton, Elms Vale and Priory ward of Dover District Council in Kent, said: "I did not expect any offence to be caused because no offence was meant.”

"I’m not a racist person, there is no racist bone in my body," he added.

Mr. Walkden said that: "As soon as one complaint was made, I apologised unreservedly for any offence the joke had caused.

"Offence was not the reason for the posting, it was a simple joke."

Mr Fuller said: "These are views unacceptable in modern Britain. He was conveying a joke that could have racist implications and he should at least realise that. Clearly, it was lacking judgment."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: "The Conservative Party does not condone racism in any form. Councillor Walkden has apologised unreservedly for any offence his comments have caused and asked for them to be removed from the website."

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