Labour city councillor's new social inclusion role put 'on hold'

Labour city councillor’s new social inclusion role championing equality and diversity is put ‘on hold’ after complaint over ‘golliwog tattoo joke she laughed at on Facebook’

  • Cllr Sally Button social inclusion role put on hold over ‘Facebook golliwog joke’
  • Mrs Button put two crying laughing emojis under the 2017 social media post
  • It was reported by the Green party to the council’s monitoring officer last Friday

A Labour city councillor’s new social inclusion role that champions equality and diversity has been put ‘on hold’ following a complaint over a ‘golliwog joke she laughed at on Facebook five years ago’.

Sally Button was reportedly due to start the position as Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with a responsibility for social inclusion before the 2017 Facebook post was reported.

Council bosses have since suspended Mrs Button after finding out she reacted to a picture of a golliwog tattoo with the caption: ‘I asked for a tattoo of the bloke from The Jam. This doesn’t look like Paul Weller to me.’

Commenting on the post at the time, Mrs Button wrote two crying with laughter emojis.

The golliwog was once used as a brand logo for Robertson’s jams, but has largely been considered a racist caricature in recent years. 

Mrs Button’s post was subsequently reported by the Green party to the council’s monitoring officer last Friday.

She is believed to have been told that her appointment is on hold while her party looks into the complaint.

Sally Button was reportedly due to start the position as Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with a responsibility for social inclusion before the 2017 Facebook post was reported. Pictured: Cllr Button with Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 

Mrs Button’s post was subsequently reported by the Green party to the council’s monitoring officer last Friday 

Council bosses have since suspended Mrs Button after finding out she reacted to a picture of a golliwog tattoo with the caption: ‘I asked for a tattoo of the bloke from The Jam. This doesn’t look like Paul Weller to me’ (file image)

It is understood that Ms Button, a councillor for ten years who represents the Bowthorpe ward for Labour, had been due to take up her appointment today.

Norwich City Council monitoring officers have said the complaint is not a matter for them, but the council’s controlling Labour group is still investigating.

The council’s leader Alan Waters said: ‘I have been made aware of this issue and will be investigating as a matter of urgency.

‘Councillor Button’s proposed position on my cabinet is on hold until the investigation concludes.’

The picture was reportedly still on Ms Button’s Facebook page last Friday morning, but has now been removed.

Lucy Galvin, who leads the Green group at Norwich City Council said: ‘It is right that the Labour group investigates and acts on this quickly.

‘This is a racial slur. Any kind of hate or racist speech is not acceptable anywhere, especially not in politics.’

The golliwog was a fictional character created by author Florence Kate Upton in 1873, appearing as a type of ragdoll.

The golliwog was a fictional character created by author Florence Kate Upton in 1873, appearing as a type of ragdoll (file image)

The caricature was used for commercial purposes, including on Robertson’s jams and marmalades, until it was dropped in 2002 after it became widely considered that golliwogs were an example of racist stereotyping.

Ms Button and Labour’s Norwich City Council has so far not responded to requests for comment from MailOnline.

She was at the centre of controversy last December when she was heard bad-mouthing an opponent in an online council meeting.

The Greens’ Lesley Grahame was interrupted during a discussion about alcohol licensing by an unmuted Ms Button who said, ‘Oh God almighty, this woman!’

Ms Button insisted at the time that her comment was meant with no malice and was a ‘careless outburst’.

The councillor who is a fan of greyhound racing also apologised in 2018 after commenting on a Facebook post about a greyhound rehoming supporter being bitten by a dog.

Ms Button had responded to the post, saying: ‘Maybe she might rabies’. She later apologised online saying her comment was ‘completely inexcusable’

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