- Councillor Alan Atkin, 44, slept throughout a gathering about youngster sexual exploitation
- The difficulty is of giant sensitivity in Rotherham amid the grooming gangs scandal
A Rotherham councillor has provoked fury by falling asleep and loud night breathing throughout a gathering to debate youngster sexual exploitation within the city.
Alan Atkin, 66, who put the ‘embarrassing’ snooze all the way down to his ‘age and weight’, has had the Labour whip suspended by social gathering officers.
Mr Atkin was one of many councillors informed concerning the critical suspected Asian grooming gang downside in Rotherham in a 2005 seminar however didn’t converse out publicly. He stated this was on the request of police reasonably than concern of accusations of racism.
Mr Atkin, who has served as a member of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council since 1996, was attending an ‘enhancing lives choose committee’ assembly when he fell asleep throughout a briefing concerning the present state of kid sexual exploitation (CSE) within the space. The job of the committee is to scrutinise the assist for the survivors of sexual abuse.
When requested what had occurred, he stated: ‘I fell asleep, responsible as charged. I haven’t not too long ago been effectively so I’m going to hunt medical intervention.’
Mr Atkin stated he didn’t go to sleep for lengthy however admitted ‘it was embarrassing.’
Rotherham councillor Alan Atkin, 66, has had the whip withdrawn after he provoked fury by falling asleep and loud night breathing throughout a gathering to debate youngster sexual exploitation
Councillor Atkin was attending an ‘enhancing lives choose committee’ assembly at Rotherham City Corridor (pictured) when he fell asleep throughout a briefing concerning the present state of kid sexual exploitation (CSE) within the space
He additionally informed the BBC: ‘I’ve not been sleeping for some time and I’ve had loads going off in my life. I’m attempting to rearrange a gathering with the physician in the meanwhile to see what’s mistaken with me. It’s one thing I’ve been pushing aside for ages.
‘I’m a human being, folks go to sleep generally. I put it all the way down to my age and my weight.
‘I’ve in all probability bought sleep amnesia or one thing. I’ve simply ignored it. I’ve apologised. It shouldn’t have occurred.
‘If it hadn’t been for the subject material we’re speaking about it wouldn’t be a narrative. Folks go to sleep at work on a regular basis, don’t they?
‘It occurred, I want it wouldn’t have occurred. I used to be in all probability asleep for 2 minutes. Everyone is making a mountain out of a molehill.’
Rotherham hit the headlines in 2014 when a report by Professor Alexis Jay estimated that 1,400 ladies had been sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 by males of predominantly Pakistani heritage.
The report revealed that seminars in 2004 and 2005 for councillors and senior officers ‘introduced the abuse in essentially the most express phrases.’ The report added: ‘After these occasions, no one may say “we didn’t know.”’
Mr Atkin was one of many councillors knowledgeable of CSE at a seminar. He stated: ‘We had been informed by the police to maintain quiet about it. That’s all I’m going to say. It’s all water underneath the bridge now, I’ve suffered with that for the final ten years.’
Following the assembly on Tuesday Chris Learn, the chief of Rotherham Council, stated Mr Atkin had misplaced the social gathering whip.
He stated: ‘The Labour Occasion takes tackling youngster exploitation extremely severely. The response of the council to threats to kids has been remodeled underneath our management lately, because the presentation to Scrutiny this morning confirmed. Cllr Atkin’s conduct in as we speak’s assembly was removed from the usual of professionalism and diligence we anticipate from our elected officers, and as such we’ve suspended the whip from Cllr Atkin.
‘We’re a modified Labour Occasion, and the general public have a proper to know that every one Labour Occasion elected officers are of the very best customary.’
However information of the incident provoked anger.
Sammy Woodhouse, a Rotherham abuse sufferer who has campaigned for change on behalf of victims, commented on X: ‘Rotherham Councillor Alan Atkin must be eliminated with quick impact.’
Tory councillor Lewis Mills, who additionally attended the assembly, commented: ‘I couldn’t imagine my ears when Cllr Atkin began loud night breathing throughout the Enhancing Lives committee, if that is how he exhibits respect to the survivors when receiving an replace on CSE then he doesn’t deserve to sit down on the committee or characterize Rotherham residents.’