Mayor of Boston says he ‘will not step down’ amid calls to resign

Mayor of Boston Bernard Rush
Mayor of Boston Bernard Rush

The Mayor of Boston has denied he’s caused offence and said he will not be standing down amid a row over posts on his personal Facebook page which has led some councillors to call for his resignation.

Several Boston Borough councillors are set to call for the mayor, Coun Brian Rush, to step down from his role at the​ Extraordinary​ Full Council meeting next week.

It is understood the ​move is a reaction to two Facebook posts made by Coun Rush.

Mr Rush’s Facebook​ page​ is set to private, and no posts are visible to the public post after December 10, 2016, however it is understood that in one of the comments he said he had no problem with the Muslim people of Britain, however called on ‘new entrants’ to undertake an oath of allegiance to Britain, it’s values and its population, adding that those who didn’t comply should be extradited.

In another, he is understood to have ​criticised several councillors at borough and county level and the town’s MP.

Coun Rush declined to speak to The Standard when contacted, however, on last night’s BBC Look North he said: “I’ve not been a quiet councillor, having said that I have not subscribed to anything that would turn the community against me.

He told the BBC: “How can I possibly be anti-Muslim? I have made sustained efforts with the local Muslim community to meet with them. I have been trying to arrange a meeting with our councillors and all the time I get rebuffed. They will not meet with those people.

“I will not be standing down. I will be allowing judge and jury to sit on me and we’ll discuss it on Monday night and let’s see what happens.”

The ​only item on the ​agenda for the ​extraordinary meeting, listed on the borough council’s website and scheduled to take place at 6.30pm on Monday, February 12, states: “That this Council is deeply concerned with the actions of the Mayor in posting offensive and political comments on his Facebook page.

“The Council believes the Mayor should reflect carefully on the words he has used.

“He has caused significant personal distress to those named and demeaned the great office that is The Worshipful the Mayor of Boston.

“The Mayor who is the 483rd person to hold this position of historic office, has sullied the role of First Citizen and champion of the Borough with petty, political point scoring that is factually incorrect.

“This Council calls for the Mayor’s resignation with immediate effect.”

The move has been proposed by Boston Borough Council leader Michael Cooper and seconded by Coun David Brown. A spokesman for the authority confirmed that five councillors had to sign the call for action before an extraordinary general meeting could be called.

They said that if the vote was carried at Monday’s meeting, Coun Rush did not have to act in accordance with it, and could still choose to remain in his position until the end of his term.

The Mayor is supposed to remain apolitical throughout their term in office giving up, for example, party allegiances.

It is understood reports were initially made to Lincolnshire Police about the comments.

A spokesman for the force said: “We were made aware of a Facebook post which we were told caused concern to some individuals in the community. An investigation into this was initiated and found that no hate crime or any other criminal offence was committed.

“We have referred the incident back to the associated organisation as there will be no further police involvement.”

Readers on social media have jumped to the defence of the councillor with some calling for people to attend Monday’s meeting to show their support.