Under-fire Warwickshire councillor says 'vile' TikToker 'needs a kick' over SEND video
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A councillor under investigation for comments about SEND provision says the person behind a “vile” TikTok video that mixes his words with images depicting restrained children “needs a kick”.
Councillor Brian Hammersley (Con, Bedworth Central) is one of three members of Warwickshire County Council who are subject to formal complaints following their comments on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision during a meeting of the authority’s Children and People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee last month.
Selected comments from all three – Cllr Hammersley, former portfolio holder for children and families Councillor Jeff Morgan (Bulkington & Whitestone) and Councillor Clare Golby (Arbury) – were chopped to make a video that was then posted to TikTok account SEND Reform England, which has more than 16,800 followers.
Audio from the clips continued as pictures cut away to black and white images depicting children in straitjackets, tied to radiators and preparing to be caned.
The video has been viewed more than 307,000 times on this channel alone after people were encouraged to "share this everywhere" and is just one part of the online uproar over the comments.
A statement issued by Warwickshire County Council’s communications department distanced the authority from the comments and included apologies from all three councillors.
Cllr Hammersley apologised “unreservedly” and acknowledged “clumsiness and lack of care” in the way he queried a sharp rise in the volume of SEND cases and whether there was “something in the water”. He accepted that “I have some learning to do”.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Cllr Hammersley who wrote back to say he had “one comment at the moment”.
The rest read: “Whoever put that vile sh** on TikTok saying we want kids put into asylums and be institutionalised needs a kick, as you know and we know those words were NOT spoken by any of us and needs to be corrected.
“They were spoken by another person in the meeting if you have watched the recording, as you probably have. Get this corrected and I might have more to say.”
The TikTok video briefly cut to comments from the county’s executive director for children and young people Nigel Minns, the highest-ranked council employee in this department who has been mistaken for a councillor in some quarters due to his presence in the footage.
Mr Minns had been responding to Cllr Morgan’s view that thresholds for SEND interventions “just keep going down and down”.
He said: “I don’t agree that the threshold has come down, I think it is where it has been since the current scheme has been in existence.”
The part seen in the video came during his explanation of the “medicalised model” which he said was replaced by SEND provision in the early 1980s. His reference to children being institutionalised in the 1960s and 1970s sought to address Cllr Hammersley’s comments that he “never heard of SEND” when he was at school.
Mr Minns said it was estimated at the time that SEND was formally recognised that approximately 20 per cent of children would need some sort of assistance.
He added: “That is slightly more than we have now, so I think that recognition has been there for some time.
“Identifying who those children are, what their needs are and how we best support them has become much more sophisticated over time which leaves us in the position that we are in now.”