A Warwick District councillor has been suspended and is facing an internal investigation following a racist tweet during last night’s Eurovision song contest.
Nick Harrington of the Conservative Party, who represents Stoneleigh and Cubbington, has been suspended from the council for period of six months following the social media outburst, in which he stated that Ireland should “Keep your f’king gypsies!” following the country’s failure to vote for UK’s act, Lucie Jones.
The tweet also added that a “hard border” between the UK and Ireland was coming, a possible consequence of Brexit negotiations.
This tweet was preceded by posts in which the councillor appeared to brand the Eurovison tech team “EuroKnobs” as well as apparently implying a sexual interest in the UK’s Eurovison entry “If I wasn’t married.”
The tweet storm provoked a backlash on Twitter in which users branded him a “horrible racist” and and demanded that he “must resign.” Subsequent to this, Mr Harrington appears to have deleted his account.
However, this did not prevent Kathryn Johnston, Secretary of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland, from reporting the councillor to the Northern Irish Police for hate speech on Twitter.
She commented that in the same week that Theresa May and Prince Charles had visited Ireland, “Nick Harrington has laid bare the reality of Tory hate speech and the contempt in which they hold the electorate of Northern Ireland who voted by a majority of 55.8% to Remain in last June’s European Referendum.”
“We hear day and daily of more and more racist and sectarian hate crimes. We have just come through a period which saw more than 3,000 victims. Hate speech like this is #notinourname.”
“Theresa May is fully aware of the backbone of her party – after all, wasn’t it she who named it the nasty party when she was Home Secretary?”
“Nick Harrington should immediately be expelled from the Tory party and Theresa May should apologise to the people of Ireland before respecting the democratic will.”
Park Hill Conservative councillor and leader of the Warwick District Council added that a number of people had contacted him this morning to complain. He said: “I find these comments completely unacceptable.”
Mr Harrington also volunteers as a magistrate and is director at the Ambay Software company in Leamington Spa.
UPDATE: Nick Harrington has resigned as a magistrate. The district council is waiting for the police investigation into the tweets to conclude before taking action.
— Fiona Moors (@Fionamoors) May 14, 2017
— BelieveTheTruth (@Sam_BTT) May 14, 2017
— Coventry Telegraph (@covtelegraph) May 14, 2017