The Morning Star reports that Manchester City Council have been urged to discipline a councillor after he was found guilty of breaching the council’s code of conduct amid allegations of racism and Islamophobia.
An official investigation led by Manchester City Council into Labour Councillor Mark Hackett’s conduct found that he had abused and intimidated a Muslim man who had volunteered to help organise a Manchester Stop the War Coalition (StWC) event to remember the children of Gaza.
The victim, who does not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, emailed a number of councillors at the city council to seek their support for the event that was to be held on 17 August 2014.
Mr Hackett responded by emailing the victim, copying in all other Labour councillors and levelling accusations that StWC supported Hamas and Isis. Hackett further remarked that his attending the event could put him and his family at risk of attack.
In a second malicious email to the victim, Hackett accused him of playing a “possible role in the abduction of the Salford Taxi Driver in Syria” and also a “possible role as Islamic State sleeper in Salford”.
In a third email to his victim, Mr Hackett wrote: “You may think I am being over cautious and alarmist but look at the Salford Taxi Driver betrayed to IS and abducted by them by someone (sic) in Salford presumably.”
Hackett was also found to have intimidated the victim by reporting him to the police as an Isis “sleeper cell”.
The male victim, in his 40’s, submitted a formal complaint to the council asking for an official probe into Mr Hackett’s conduct. The investigation lasted almost a year and concluded in July 2015 where Mr Hackett was found to have violated the council’s code of conduct with his bullying and abusive behaviour.
A Manchester City Council spokesman said the complaint was being investigated and it would be “inappropriate to comment until this process has concluded.” However, the council has not initiated any disciplinary proceedings against the councillor. The victim has suggested that as Mr Hackett is due to step down from his position early next year, the council want to “quietly sweep the matter under the carpet”.
Mr Hackett is a prominent figure in local Manchester politics having served as a Labour councillor for over 25 years and in 2013 was elected to serve as the city’s Lord Mayor.
The victim is being supported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), who disclose that the victim has been left “psychologically scarred” by his experience. He is now seeking a public apology from Mr Hackett. He also wants him to publicly retract the allegations he says were made against him and face disciplinary proceedings from the council.