COUNCILLORS have expressed their outrage at an “offensive” and “sexist” T-shirt worn by a Green Party activist at a Wiltshire Council meeting last Tuesday.

Gerard Byrne, from Calne, wore a Tshirt emblazoned with an obscene slogan about the Tories as he read a public statement deriding the council’s latest round of cuts.

The T-shirt, did indeed say something about Tory cuts.

Only the designer had added a line that was clearly aimed at causing offence to members of that party.

As he began his speech, Cllr Bridget Wayman cut across him, saying: “I find that garment he is wearing offensive.

“Is that acceptable in the chamber?” Mr Byrne replied: “Would you have also said that if I had worn a burka?”

The pictures showing Mr Byrne’s Tshirt have now been blacked out on the council’s webcast, which can be viewed online.

The chairman of the council, Roy While, said that he had not seen the offending T-shirt at the time of the speech, adding if he had seen the slogan he “would have asked him to leave”.

But Cllr Chris Devine who represents Winterslow, said many of his fellow councillors were outraged by Mr Byne’s actions.

“It wasn’t very edifying to say the least,” said Cllr Devine. “It degrades the proceedings down to the lowest level.

“I found it extremely offensive and I was in the army for 25 years so it takes a lot to offend me.”

Salisbury’s Green Party candidate Alison Craig said while she had sympathy for the protesters, the T-shirt was the wrong way to go about it.

She said: “I can fully understand the frustration at the cuts which have been announced by the council.

“But I would not use filthy or sexist language to make that point.”

The green party confirmed that the matter had been looked into and they have “severely reprimanded” Mr Byrne and he had been forced to apologise to those who were offended. They added that “it was not an offence he would be thrown out of the party for”.

Phil Chamberlain, spokesman for the Kennet and North Wiltshire Green Party, said that Mr Byrne acted alone in the stunt and fellow party members knew nothing of his T-shirt at a protest outside county hall before the meeting.

“We cannot condone the actions that were taken by Gerard,” he said. “But he has apologised and that is the end of the matter as far as we are concerned.”

The incident was reported to police, who have confirmed an investigation into a public order offence is ongoing.