A RACIAL equality group has slammed texts forwarded by a Bournemouth councillor as “visceral and malicious”, and has joined a politician calling on him to resign.

Yesterday the Daily Echo exposed Cllr Richard Powell, a 24-year-old Westbourne and West Cliff Conservative councillor and language school consultant, after he forwarded a series of offensive jokes by text message.

Cllr Claire Smith, the council’s Liberal Democrat group leader, said his behaviour had been “totally unacceptable”. “Given the nature of the actual jokes – they’re not just slightly rude, they’re completely offensive – and given that they’re of such a strong nature, I’d say it’s something he should resign over,” she added.

The texts target Muslims, Indians, Irish people, Pakistanis and black people. One uses the ‘N word’ and another applies a grossly offensive swear word to Allah.

Dorset Race Equality Council said, after being shown the texts, that they were “racist and vulgar”. In backing calls for Cllr Powell to resign it said his position was “untenable”. A spokesman added: “As an elected official and a consultant of a language school, we would hope that Cllr Powell embraces the diversity of our town and all of the unique people who live here.

“These ‘jokes’ were not harmelss fun or risque, or a mild selection of ethnic stereotypes, but visceral and malicious towards anyone who has a different nationality, skin colour or faith.”

Independent group leader Cllr Anne Rey said councillors needed “to have integrity and be trustworthy”, particularly after the laptop porn scandal involving leader Cllr Stephen MacLoughlin.

“Even though it’s his personal mobile, he’s put himself up for public service and it’s an unfortunate incident,” she added.

Cllr Powell yesterday agreed with Dorset Race Equality Council.

He said: “The texts are awful and the people who made these texts are the people who need to be looked into.

“It was foolish to forward on these texts, but I’m sure everybody in their lifetime will have a text that’s bad. You shouldn’t forward them on, but I’m a human being and a normal person.”

Cllr Powell said he did not send the messages in his role as a councillor and said he would not resign, but had suspended his membership of the Conservatives and the local Tory group while the standards committee investigated.

A Conservative Party investigation is also under way.