Is this the worst councillor in the UK?

Gregory Davis - 20 03 23

Racist, corrupt and dishonest – this UKIP councillor from Clacton might be the worst we’ve ever discovered.

HOPE not hate has had the unfortunate duty of reporting on some pretty terrible councillors over the years, exposing them for their racism and far-right affiliations. UKIP councillor Peter Cawthron of Tendring District Council, however, has still managed surprised us by his shocking bigotry and surprisingly candid admissions of corruption and incompetence.

“I’m, literally, the least productive Councillor in the UK out of more than 20,000”

Telegram post, 9 July 2022
Posted to Telegram, 6 August 2022

Until now, Cawthron’s eight year tenure representing Coppins ward on Tendring District Council has passed without much fanfare. One of UKIP’s last remaining councillors in the UK, his most notable achievement thus far is having been subject to disciplinary proceedings after swearing during a council meeting in 2021.

But in the comfort of anonymous far-right chat groups on the Telegram messaging app, Cllr Cawthron has happily divulged substantially more shocking confessions about his disgusting politics and insalubrious lifestyle.

“I’m a racist. And a racialist. And a Nazi. I’m of an age, and of a sufficiently low social status and sufficiently above median IQ that I can take pleasure in “owning” (I hate that term so much) these words.”

Telegram post, 6 July 2022

While chatting with fellow fascists in groups aligned with various far-right groups and influencers, Cllr Cawthron frequently engages in late-night drunken diatribes in which he rails against black people, Jews and women.

Examples of his foul output include:

  • Referring to black people as “n*****s” and “monkeys”
  • Claiming that Jewish people’s “entire history is based on cheating and deceiving the goyim” and calling for them to be deported en masse, banned from owning property and working in certain industries.
  • Arguing that women should not be allowed to vote or stand in national elections.
  • Boasting of printing and posting stickers for the neo-Nazi ‘Hundred Handers’ network.

These views alone would be enough to repulse the vast majority of voters, but even the hateful fringe who agree with them might be turned off by Cllr Cawthron’s general attitude to his civic duties. For example, Cawthron happily boasts that he does nothing for his constituents and claiming the councillors’ allowance is his sole motivation:

“In 8 years I’ll have got about £46,000 money for nothing, albeit taxable. I’ll stand again next year for another £24,000 for doing nothing for four years and lots of chances to fuck with petty authority i.e. the Council. I’m, literally, the least productive Councillor in the UK out of more than 20,000”

Telegram post, 9 July 2022

Cawthron’s expenses represent a particularly high burden on the finances of Tendring District Council, due to the fact that he currently lives in South Wales and commutes to meetings – those he can be bothered to attend – and also because he claims to fiddle his travel expenses claims to include his own hefty booze requirements. Discussing his cross-country trips to attend meetings, Cawthron boasted:

“The council pays the train fare, they pay the hotel for one night, they pay for the McDonalds, […] they’ll pay for the burger at Wetherspoon’s last night – and if I’m creative and use my bank statement as the receipt, they’ll pay for a few drinks as well.”

Telegram post, 14 July 2022

Cllr Cawthron’s council expenses might not be the only thing he’s fiddling. Whilst discussing his financial situation, he has at various points alluded to the idea that he might be claiming disability benefits to which he is not entitled. After offering to help other members of the chat with claiming disability benefits, Cawthron claimed to be making a claim of his own: “I’m doing it now myself. I’ve got three years and five months to pension age, and I’m just thinking “fuck this, I don’t want to work anymore. Why should I?”

At other points he has elaborated on this claim, implying that he was feigning mental illness to obtain the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) disability benefit. In March 2022 he described in vague terms an appointment he’d recently had with a doctor: “I did feel a bit bad, but I needed to present “as a bit mental” for….reasons. When I told her I felt I had most of the symptoms of psychopathy she seemed a bit concerned!”

In July of that year he went into further detail, saying “I’ve only got three and a bit years til retirement age. And having been dismissed from HMRC for gross misconduct, I’m not sure it’s worth me working for the remaining three years. So any evidence I can offer the government, erm, that points to a mental dysfunction, is probably going to help me pay the bills.”

“I am “on” prescription anti-depressants and NEVER take them. I have 38 months to retirement age and have no intention of ever working again. I can get by on £1,200 pcm UC, HB and LCW-WRA. And if I can get PIP I’ll be cushty. I’m a terrible person. Sorry. 🥃🍷”

Telegram post, 2 July 2022

Unfortunately, Cllr Cawthron has announced his intention to stand again in the upcoming local elections, citing his desire to get “another £24,000 for doing nothing”. Responding to another chat member who described voters as “knuckle-dragging idiots”, Cawthron responded “Don’t knock them, bro. 500 out of 6,000 of them vote for me and I’m probably elected.”

We can only hope that the voters of Coppins ward will vote for someone – literally anyone! – else.


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