SOLIHULL councillor Margaret Bassett has been suspended by the Conservative group following controversial tweets about immigration.
This newspaper last week revealed the story, which she described to us as a ‘political witchhunt’.
Our live coverage on our website yesterday reported the mounting pressure on political leaders to act.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull council, has released the following statement:
“Solihull’s Monitoring Officer has informed me that complaints have been received concerning Councillor Bassett’s use of Twitter, in particular the material she has been retweeting. I have therefore suspended Councillor Bassett from the Conservative Group pending the outcome of the Monitoring Officer’s investigation.”
It follows her colleague councillor Jeff Potts’ (Knowle), apology for what have been widely intepreted to be his ‘anti-muslim’ and immigration retweets of extremists’ views.
The Conservative group at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council relinquished the party whip and his is now an ‘independent’ councillor, pending further investigation.
Conservative councillors last night suppport a Green party motion calling on the council to re-state that it is committed to tackle inequality and discrimination (see our coverage yesterday).
WHAT THE TWEETS SAID
Coun Bassett told us last week she was ‘stunned’ when the Observer contacted her over the tweets.
Her retweeted comments made by others included: “Why should thousands of British citizens lives be unnecessarily put at risk for the sake of importing ‘refugees’ from a safe country?”
Coun Bassett also retweeted a comment from another account which commented: “Which just goes to prove my point that these people don’t view our generosity as kindness, they view it as a weakness.” It was about a tweet about the foster parents of a 15-year-old Iraq child who allegedly played a part in the London tube bombing.
Speaking to the Observer last week, she said: “Those tweets do not necessarily represent my views.
“They may appear in retweets I have posted onto the general sphere but do not necessarily represent my opinion.
“I do not think going for a political witchhunt is right.”
It is also alleged she re-tweeted other tweets that had been deleted at an earlier stage from her account.
They included a reply from a Twitter user to former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.
It showed a picture of London mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, with the text, “defiant London Mayor proclaims we will not be defeated! World starting to wonder – who does he mean by we?”
In another post she retweeted a map of crimes supposedly committed by immigrants in Germany.
Her entire Twitter account is now ‘protected’, meaning it cannot be accessed by the public.
Coun Potts’ re-tweets by others included one stating: “Deport and repatriate all Muslims from the UK or watch terrorists kill innocent people for generations to come.”