SIR: Conservatives on Winchester City Council have expressed dismay at views expressed by their former colleague, Councillor Judith Clementson, after the Chronicle published her hate-filled rants on social media, many of which have since been deleted (Chronicle, June 18 and 25).

It beggars belief that Councillor Clementson's local Conservative association, party activists and fellow members of the Conservative Group on the Council were unaware of her views. She had been active on Twitter for years -- using a nom de plume to vilify Muslims, promote xenophobia and peddle white supremacist tropes. As far back as March 2, the group Hope not Hate exposed the councillor as the author of the offending tweets, at which point immediate, decisive action should have been taken.

Councillor Clementson's social media posts cross the line between free speech and hate speech. Amongst many other outbursts, she compares Islam to a cancer that must be "cut out" or "zapped" and claims that Muslims "breed like flies." Not content with airing her own hatred of Muslims, she repeatedly and actively incites hatred and violence against them. This is a matter properly dealt with by law enforcement.

There is a connecting thread between Islamophobic views expressed by elected officials, and violent hate-motivated attacks on Muslims of the kind that happen all too often on the streets of British cities at pub closing time on a Saturday night. The former legitimises the latter. Councillor Clementson is no longer just an embarrassment to the Conservative Party; she is a danger to our communities and should be stripped of public office.

Charles Radcliffe,

Woodman Lane,