Leamington councillor speaks out against the ‘serious and sustained racial abuse’ she has received while serving as chairwoman of Warwick District Council

Mini Mangat is the youngest councillor and the first woman of colour to have been elected to the role

Police are supporting a leading Leamington councillor after she suffered ‘serious and sustained racial abuse’ when attending events as chair of Warwick District Council (WDC).

Cllr Mini Mangat (Lab, Leamington Willes) was elected to the post in May, the first woman of colour to hold the ceremonial post and the youngest ever chairman of the council.

But at this week’s full council meeting, leader Cllr Andrew Day (Con, Bishop’s Tachbrook) read a statement condemning a number of attacks.

Cllr Mini Mangat was elected as chair in May, the first woman of colour to hold the ceremonial post and the youngest ever chairman of the council.

He said: “It is with considerable regret that I inform members that in the course of representing the council at different public events across the district, Cllr Mangat has experienced serious and sustained racial abuse.

“Cllr Mangat has come forward reluctantly and is understandably concerned that in making a public statement she and her family may suffer further racist attacks.

"However, as a long-time campaigner against racism, our chair firmly believes that it is important that we as a council come together to speak out to condemn this unacceptable behaviour.

“While Cllr Mangat continues to enthusiastically carry out her duties as chair, measures are being put in place to provide some protection including restricting the online publication of her personal contact details.

"Our local police force is also providing Cllr Mangat with advice and practical support, demonstrating just how seriously they take this form of hate crime.

“The fact that our chair has been attacked in this way has come as something of a shock to me but I hope that in shining a bright light on this abhorrent behaviour we might encourage others to challenge racism wherever it is found in the community.

“This is an attack on our way of life and the values on which we as councillors are building a better society. Racism in all its forms must be confronted whenever it is encountered so I commend Mini for her bravery at what must be a difficult time for her and her family.”

Cllr Mangat said she hoped her decision to highlight the attacks would make people aware that racism existed in the district.

She added: “I am really enjoying my time as chair but the trauma and distress of the racism is difficult.”

There was support and applause from across the council chamber and Cllr Naveen Tangri (Green, Leamington Brunswick) said: “As the only other councillor of colour at WDC, when a fellow brown person is subjected to racism it cuts really deep for me.

"Unfortunately I have lived experiences of racism myself and understand the trauma this can cause.

“It’s clear there is still so much work to do in society and we must continue to work together to stamp out racism.”

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Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has spoken in support of Cllr Mangat.

He said: “In this political climate, it takes real courage to put yourself forward for public office.

“It takes much more courage for women and people of colour to do so – knowing, unfortunately, you risk being on the receiving end of sexist and racist hatred and abuse.

“I’m encouraged that WDC has shown solidarity with Mini and I’m glad the police are taking this seriously.

“She has my full solidarity.”