A FORMER council public health and equalities chief resigned his post after a tweet about 'Abrahamic religion' which led to complaints, it has emerged.

Damian Haywood was until recently Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for public health and equalities.

He resigned his post in the council's elected senior leadership team in mid-June after a complaint was made against him.

Now a screenshot of the since-deleted tweet has emerged which reveals what led to Mr Haywood's resignation.

Oxford Mail:

The former cabinet member was taking part in a Twitter discussion about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods when the anonymous user of an account called 'Cowley LTN's #OneOX4' expressed concerns about the impact of the LTNs on schools in Cowley.

They said: "Nevermind the Catholic primary school on a main road taking the increased load of cars. We are constantly told it's to make streets safer and cleaner for children. What they really mean is SOME children."

It is also understood that another twitter user had expressed concerns about how worshippers travelling to Friday prayers at the mosques in East Oxford would be impacted by the LTNs earlier in the long exchange of tweets.

In a reply to this thread, Mr Haywood wrote: "I do not think your Abrahamic religion of several millenia have anything to do with transport invented 100 years ago."

The tweet by Labour councillor Mr Haywood has since been deleted, and he told this paper he had apologised for it in a subsequent reply.

Oxford Mail:

He said: "I apologised for any offence it caused and I deleted it 10 minutes after sending it."

Mr Haywood added it had been 'unnecessary' and regretted having posted it.

He said: "It was coarse and obviously I need to think again about how I use social media."

A complaint was made against him to the county council in the wake of the social media post, and a spokesman for the council has said this is now being investigated.

READ MORE: New Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member resigns from his post

Mr Haywood said he is unable to comment on the investigation while it is taking place.

The former public health and equalities chief resigned from his post only five weeks into the new coalition council's term of office.

Mr Haywood's post has since been filled by his Labour colleague Mark Lygo, who stepped into the role just ahead of the first council cabinet meeting held on June 22.


Arash Fatemian, shadow cabinet member for public health and equalities in Oxfordshire's Conservative opposition group, said: “I am sorry to see Councillor Haywood stand down as cabinet member, especially after such a short time in the role. Ultimately however, I think it is the right thing to do. 

"All holders of public office need to act with decorum, respect and consideration for others at all times and should all be held to the same standard.”

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are experimental traffic management schemes which have been rolled out in Cowley, with the aim of stopping residential side streets being used as short cuts, and encouraging cycling and walking.

READ MORE: East Oxford LTN protest - IN PICTURES

They have been welcomed by some residents, but others are unhappy with the fact that bollards or planters have been used to turn through-roads into makeshift cul-de-sacs.

A coalition called the Oxfordshire Fair Deal alliance was formed to lead Oxfordshire County Council after the May 6 elections, made up of Lib Dems, Labour and Green councillors.

It is broadly supportive of LTNs, but has committed to not roll out any more without an extensive consultation.

Mr Haywood, the councillor for Iffley Fields and St Mary's is an advocate of active travel like cycling and walking, and public transport, as a means of reducing carbon emissions.

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Update: This article has been updated to include references to earlier parts of the social media discussion which led to the complaint