The Conservative Party snatched control of Pendle council after reinstating a candidate who was suspended for racism. Rosemary Carroll was suspended after sharing a racist joke on social media. The offensive joke in question compared Asian benefits claimants to dogs.
Pendle looked set to remain a hung council with the Conservative Party in control of 24 seats out of a possible 50. But the reinstatement of Carroll secured the party an additional seat and control of the council.
Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis hailed the result:
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) May 4, 2018
Less than 24 hours after Carroll’s reinstatement was revealed, the prime minister made the following remarks in Barnet:
… people of all faiths have rejected the vile anti-Semitism that has gone unchallenged in the Labour Party for too long.
Twitter users were quick to point out the sheer hypocrisy of the Conservative Party calling out racism in the Labour Party:
Theresa May says voters have rejected the vile racism in Labour that has gone "unchallenged" by the party. In other news the Conservatives have just welcomed the councillor who shared this about an Asian person on Facebook, back into the party. https://t.co/6rERYR6PhR pic.twitter.com/9jNZQXTqwU
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) May 4, 2018
Others pointed out that perhaps the architect of the “hostile environment” should think twice before accusing anyone of racism:
Without underplaying the anti-Semitism charge, that's quite the brass neck from a woman whose immigration policies are so racist that we ended up deporting British citizens who happen to be black. https://t.co/szeSGOrq6q
— Jonn Elledge (@JonnElledge) May 4, 2018
The nasty party
Reports of racism in the party are nothing new. In fact, 12 candidates have been suspended for similar offences by the Conservatives in the lead up to the election. However, in the wake of the Conservatives’ “respect pledge” and the party’s sustained criticism of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, the reinstatement of Carroll is particularly galling.
Twitter users were quick to call out Lewis’ support:
By reinstating a racist. Well done Bunter, advocate of kinder gentler Toryism
— annie 🐝 (@AnnielizzieSten) May 4, 2018
You reinstated a racist to win and are foolish enough to be drawing attention to it by tweeting this. Incredible.
— Mick Walsh (@MickWalsh63) May 4, 2018
This tweet should actually get Brandon Lewis removed from his role. You know how the 'super result' was achieved? After Pendle being declared hung, they reinstated a suspended candidate who tweeted a horribly offensive racist 'joke'.
— Jo Phillips (@joglasg) May 4, 2018
As a result of her three-month suspension, Caroll stood in the election as an independent. Conservative group leader Paul White stated that Caroll had rejoined the party a few days prior to the election. But according to Pendle council members, Carroll was reinstated at lunchtime on Friday.
But wait, there’s more
The events in Pendle are not an isolated incident. Suspended Sunderland councillor Anthony Mullen was welcomed back almost immediately after being elected. Mullen had previously described Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, as a “filthy, bulbous pig” on social media:
Is this how seriously the Conservatives are taking online abuse?..https://t.co/7plcRJFGJc
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) May 4, 2018
One Twitter user summed up the situation in brutally frank terms:
The most acceptable form of racism in British society is saying gross things about Diane Abbott
— Woke Bane (@banebutwoke) May 4, 2018
This latest incident has exposed the respect pledge and the PMs bluster around racism for what it really is, a bunch of hot air:
So much for this respect pledge, mind. It seems if a would-be Tory actually wins, it no longer matters if they posted racist/offensive material. V cynical indeed.
Tory who called Diane Abbott a 'pig' reinstated straight after election https://t.co/eZ1uDFr8FW
— Rachel Wearmouth (@REWearmouth) May 4, 2018
Theresa May and the Conservative Party have made their stance on racism very clear. The party will not tolerate any racism in the party – except in instances where it will gain seats.
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Featured image via Flickr/Raul Mee (EU2017EE)