Corbyn takes legal action over tweet from Tory councillor mocking Liverpool attack

18 November 2021, 09:43

Jeremy Corbyn is taking legal action against Paul Nickerson
Jeremy Corbyn is taking legal action against Paul Nickerson. Picture: Facebook/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Jeremy Corbyn is taking legal action over a tweet by a Conservative councillor that featured a doctored photo of him and appeared to mock the Liverpool terrorist attack.

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The photo, posted by Paul Nickerson, a Conservative councillor in East Riding in Yorkshire, was edited to make it appear as if the former Labour leader was laying a wreath next to the burning taxi after a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive.

Mr Nickerson captioned the photo: "Unsurprisingly."

He has since deleted the post and apologised, both on social media and privately to the Islington North MP, and has been suspended by the council's Conservative group.

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He also claimed the tweet was sent after his account - which has now been deleted - was compromised by friends playing a prank.

But a spokesman for Mr Corbyn has now confirmed he has contacted his solicitor and is taking legal action over the post.

It is understood the tweet was referencing a 2014 photograph of the former Labour leader attending a wreath-laying ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery, prompting a row in 2018.

In a statement, the leader of the Conservative group on East Riding Council, Jonathan Owen, said Mr Nickerson had been suspended with immediate effect and said an investigation would take place.

"Following an inappropriate and offensive message which appeared on Councillor Paul Nickerson's Twitter feed, I have suspended him from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Conservative group with immediate effect and an investigation will now take place," said Mr Owen.

"All people in public life, irrespective of politics, should be united in condemning the terrorist attack that took place outside the Liverpool Women's Hospital on Remembrance Sunday.

"It is not the time for inappropriate remarks, however intended, and they will not be tolerated in this Conservative Group.

"Residents should expect their elected representatives to act in an appropriate manner at all times."

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The tweet was criticised by people across the political sphere.

Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle Emma Hardy wrote: "Using a horrific terrorist incident to have a go at a politician he doesn’t like is a new low."

Activist Owen Jones called the tweet "completely vile", adding "where do you even start".