THE COMMENTS made by a Torfaen politician were offensive a council has ruled after he used the derogatory term “Muzzy” in an online attack seen as referring to Muslims.

Independent councillor Mike Harris also called on gay women to “buy a Barbie doll if they want to play at being mum” after reading a newspaper article suggesting the NHS was to fund sperm bank for lesbians.

Cllr Harris chaired Torfaen council’s safer communities overview and scrutiny committee, which seeks to promote safety in communities, at the time he made the comments but is no longer a member of this committee.

Torfaen council’s ethics and standards committee investigated Cllr Harris’ comments and found that both were offensive.

But the committee stopped short of taking any sanctions against the councillor saying he had not breached the code of conduct he must abide by, adding the European Convention on Human Rights protected his freedom of speech.

The Pontypool ward councillor said on Tuesday: "This is a victory for freedom of speech and freedom of expression."

Cllr Harris previously claimed he had used the word "Muzzy" in its proper meaning as set out in the dictionary, namely “unable to think clearly or confused”.

But in an official ruling the council watchdog said: “The committee concluded that the wording of both posts were offensive.

“It did not accept the explanation given by Cllr Harris in relation to post A in which he claimed that the word 'Muzzy' was not referring to a Muslim but was an old English word which had the dictionary meaning of mess, confusion, chaos, disorder.

“The committee decided that a reasonable observer would conclude that the intention was to refer to Muslims.

“However the committee took into consideration the higher level of protection afforded for political expression to Cllr Harris under both the common law and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and concluded that there was no breach of the code in relation to both postings.”

Last month, Torfaen council’s monitoring officer investigated an alleged breach by Cllr Harris of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the code of conduct in making two postings on public sites.

Post A consisted of a link to an article on the Daily Mail website entitled “Hamas executes 11 Israeli informers" under a comment made by Cllr Harris which stated “Once a Muzzy!”.

Post B was linked to another Daily Mail website piece entitled “NHS to fund sperm bank for lesbians” under a comment made by Cllr Harris which stated “Totally and ethically wrong in my opinion! They should buy a Barbie doll if they want to play at being a mum”.

One complainant said that the public postings were of a “sexist and racist nature” and the other complainant referred to one of the posts as “offensive, racist, Islamophobic, prejudiced views”, a report by the ethics and standards committee showed.