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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

"Racist" Tory Councillor resigns over Pakistani students comment

The Conservative Party councillor who was condemned for suggesting that Pakistani students "will not rise to the top" because they were not prepared to work as hard, has resigned.

John Cherry, a Tory member of West Sussex County Council in southern England, was discussing an application by London's Durand Academy to open a boarding school for 600 students in the Sussex countryside.

The Academy is an award-winning Primary School where 95% of children are from a Black of Asian background.

The Mail on Sunday quoted councillor Cherry as saying, "Ninety-seven per cent of pupils (who will take up places at the planned boarding school) 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.

His comments were widely condemned with a Conservative Party councillor saying they were "totally unacceptable".

Announcing his resignation last night, Mr cherry said: ‘My remarks 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.’

Mr Cherry had also expressed "concerns" about taking the children out of their "natural habitat" in Stockwell, Southwest London.

"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."

"Stockwell is a coloured area – I have no problem with that.  To be honest, I would far rather Durand took over a secondary school in London rather than shoving everybody here."

The Academy's plans to take over a disused boarding school in leafy Stedham, West Sussex has sparked some opposition from local residents in the white-majority area.

Councillor Cherry is said to have been a resident of the area for more than three decades and is described on the local council website as a "committed Christian" who is "passionate about the preservation of this beautiful area for current and future generations, within a framework run by local people".

Stephen Twigg MP, Labour's shadow education secretary however, told the Mail on Sunday: "When a Tory councillor makes openly racist comments like these, it's no surprise people still think of the Conservatives as the nasty party.

The Tory spokesman also said the process had already begun to suspend Mr Cherry from the party.

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