Rugby councillor investigated over ‘racist’ tweet

A screen grab of the tweet
A screen grab of the tweet

A Conservative councillor has come under fire for an alleged ‘racist’ tweet about a Labour MP.

Cllr Jim Buckley, who represents the Hillmorton Ward on Rugby Borough Council, is said to have tweeted a photo of Sadiq Khan’s political office. Mr Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting, is standing as the party’s candidate to be Mayor of London in 2016.

Cllr Jim Buckley

Cllr Jim Buckley

The photograph of Mr Khan’s office was accompanied by the words ‘Your next London Mayor? You think his corner shop would be open on a Saturday?’

Mr Khan was born into a British-Pakistani family and worked as a solicitor before becoming an MP.

An Advertiser reader, who wished to remain anonymous, alerted the paper to the tweet and described it as ‘racist’. The reader said: “Evidently it seems to show a horribly racist view of the Labour candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.”

Rugby Borough Council has now launched an investigation into the tweet, which was posted on October 24.

A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said: “The matter was brought to the attention of the council leader, Cllr Michael Stokes, on November 4 and he immediately referred it to the council’s monitoring officer. An investigation is now underway.”

Cllr Jim Buckley contacted the Advertiser today (Thursday, November 12) and provided the following statement: “I am sorry if this upset anyone, I only meant to observe that it is surprising to see an MP’s office closed at peak campaign time on a Saturday.

“But I read it back 20 minutes later and realised it could be misinterpreted. To avoid this I immediately deleted it.”

Cllr Claire Edwards, Leader of Rugby Labour Group, said: “As an elected representative all councillors have a greater need to be diligent and careful when using social media. The image and comment on this tweet is clearly racist and offensive and as such I urge this councillor to not only apologise for the offence caused but to ensure that he checks tweets before publishing in the future. We are all used to strongly worded political comments on social media, but this goes beyond that. Rugby Borough Council prides itself as an Equalities Champion in local government and this puts that at risk.”