A LABOUR Councillor from Blackpool was suspended by the party under after ‘cross-dressing in black face’, it can now be revealed, after the party attempted to keep the reason for his suspension under wraps.
Councillor Jim Hobson, who was re-elected to represent Bloomfield ward at the May 4 local elections, was administratively suspended late last week.
Prior to the elections, Councillor Hobson served as cabinet member for children’s social care and schools, and had helped oversee improvements which saw children’s services rated as ‘requires improvement’ in February this year, following its previous ’inadequate’ rating.
Labour retook control of Blackpool Council at the local elections after winning 28 of the 42 seats, with the Conservatives winning 14.
The Labour Party confirmed the suspension but declined to provide the reasons behind the measure.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The party does not comment on internal party matters and any complaints from party members are investigated in line with our rules and procedures.”
However, it can now be revealed that Hobson was suspended after a photograph emerged showing him once wearing black face and a dress.
In the image, which was posted on his Facebook page, Jim Hobson, 53, seems to be wearing make-up to darken his face, a black wig, black dress, tights and stiletto shoes.
The picture was ‘liked’ by Lisette Roe, his partner, who is also a Labour councillor in Blackpool.
Mr Hobson was suspended shortly after being re-elected on May 4 as Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for children’s services. Labour has not revealed the reasons behind his suspension.
But it comes after a complaint to the council at the beginning of this month about the photograph, which is believed to have been taken at a youth centre event and posted on Facebook in 2013.
Reporting the matter to the council, a member of the public accused Mr Hobson of being a ‘racist and a misogynist’ who ‘dressed up as a black female and should not be a councillor on behalf of Labour and Blackpool Council’.
Although Mr Hobson has since taken his Facebook page down, the photograph has been shared by residents’ groups on social media.
One resident said: ‘I have so many questions and issues with this, I don’t know where to begin. But I feel really angry.’
Mark Butcher, an independent candidate who stood against Mr Hobson in the town’s Bloomfield ward, said: ‘The picture has upset quite a lot of people including a number of mixed-race people who live in the ward. Doing what he did, where he did it, it’s not right.’