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Senior Labour man faces racism charge; German jibe ends in court action.

Byline: CARL BUTLER

A SENIOR Labour councillor was last night facing court action over alleged racist remarks made during the June election campaign.

Flintshire county councillor Derek Butler was reported to police after urging voters to reject a ``German'' candidate.

The remarks were aimed at controversial Green councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun.

A North Wales Police statement issued yesterday said: ``In connection with a complaint of a racial nature made to the police by councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun on June 9, a male person has been reported for summons for a racially aggravated public order offence in connection with this matter. ''

It means information will be laid before a magistrates clerk who will summons Mr Butler to appear before Flintshire Magistrates.

Mr Butler, a Labour member for Broughton who lost his portfolio for economic development after the election, was not available for comment last night.

Mr Armstrong-Braun said: ``I am very pleased that police have investigated this and that the Crown Prosecution Service has felt my complaint was valid. ''

In the June elections, Mr Armstrong-Braun, who lives in Broughton, fought to retain his Saltney seat on Flintshire council in a straight contest with a Labour opponent.

Mr Butler was allegedly caught on video urging voters to reject the ``German from Broughton'' and support the local candidate during electioneering from a car with a loudhailer.

Mr Armstrong-Braun, who lost his county council seat, but remains on Saltney Town council, submitted the CCTV video footage to the police.

He said he was ``angry and upset'' and pointed out that Labour had been very vocal during the election opposing the British National Party.

He also reported the issue to the Campaign for Racial Equality.

Mr Armstrong-Braun was born in Krakow, Poland, and was placed in a British orphanage in 1954.

At the time Mr Butler issued a full apology, saying: ``I am extremely sorry if I have caused offence to Klaus or any individual due to my comment.

``I fully accept the remark was foolish and should not have been made.

``I would also like to apologise to my colleagues in the Labour Party for disappointing them, and in no way do my actions represent the Labour Party.

``I would also like to stress that I am by no means racist or xenophobic. ''

CAPTION(S):

Polish-born and British-raised councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun was dismayed when opponent Derek Butler urged voters not to back ``the German'' during the June local elections
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2004
Words:403
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