On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
Comments made by a former councillor from Chichester, about immigrant schoolchildren, are being investigated by police.
Police are looking into "thoughtless and extremely foolish" remarks about immigrant children by a former Conservative Party councillor. Sussex Police said they have received two complaints about comments made by John Cherry and that they are "currently assessing the remarks".
Mr Cherry drew condemnation after claiming that Pakistani children would fail to "rise to the top" and some nationalities were "uncertain" what hard work is about. The ex-Chichester councillor was responding to proposals by a south London academy to open an Eton-style boarding school in the West Sussex countryside. He warned that the children would want to "escape into the forest - it will be a sexual volcano".
But after being heavily criticised for the comments at the weekend, Mr Cherry resigned from the Conservative Party and apologised.
A Sussex Police spokesman said:
"The remarks attributed to Mr Cherry in the Mail on Sunday have been subject of complaints to us by two members of the public, and we are currently assessing the remarks to see what steps should be taken next."
Mr Cherry has said the comments were "plainly wrong".
"They were thoughtless and extremely foolish. I unreservedly apologise and withdraw them. I very much regret the distress this must have caused."
The plans of the Durand Academy, which is based in Stockwell, south London, have sparked some opposition from people living near the proposed boarding school site. The proposal is to use St Cuthman's School, a disused boarding school in Stedham, West Sussex.
Mr Cherry, who represents the village, told the Mail on Sunday:
"Ninety-seven per cent of pupils will be black or Asian. It depends what type of Asian. If they're Chinese they'll rise to the top. If they're Indian they'll rise to the top. If they're Pakistani they won't.
"There are certain nationalities where hard work is highly valued. There are certain nationalities where they are uncertain what this hard work is all about.
"If the children are not allowed out of the site then it will make them want to escape into the forest - it will be a sexual volcano.
"Has anyone asked whether these children want to be plucked from their natural surroundings? They have never done boarding before, so they won't know how it works.
"The trauma of taking the children out of their natural surroundings is going to be considerable."
The Wellington and Cambridge-educated chartered accountant has lived in the area for more than 30 years, according to the Chichester District Council website.
His biography on the website says the "committed Christian" is "passionate about the preservation of this beautiful area for current and future generation, within a framework run by local people".
The Tories had begun action to suspend Mr Cherry before his resignation. A spokesman described the comments as "totally unacceptable" and said they "do not reflect the views of the Conservative Party".