Tory Councillor Lucy Ivimy of the Hammersmith and Fulham council in west London has sparked a racism row by accusing immigrants, particularly Indians, of showing a “total disregard for cleanliness of a public area.”
She said that the council estate was being blighted by rubbish thrown from flats. “I know that in India, throwing rubbish out of a window is normal and I dare say a number of them would change if firmly told that in London this is not acceptable behaviour,” she said, according to a report in the Mail.
Stephen Cowan, leader of the Labour group on the council, rubbished the claim. “It’s a minority of residents from all backgrounds who throw rubbish. Saying it is people from India shows her prejudice.”
In an e-mail sent to the estate, Ivimy said the association should not be responsible for picking up all the rubbish, which includes ‘used condoms and other delights.’
Other residents said Ivimy had no proof that Indian families were to blame. Said Claudia Harriott, a midwifery student: “There are dozens of different nationalities in this block but I’ve only ever seen one or two Indian families.”
Residents association chairman Deana Maddix said: “We don’t know who is throwing rubbish, that’s the point. We would never mention any race, this is all lies.”
Ivimy admitted later. “This was a hastily written, ill thought out, stupid, personal mail. I can see how the comments may be offensive. That was never my intention and therefore I apologise.”