'Drop the virtue signalling and get back to work': Labour council faces backlash from Salford residents after 'taking the knee'

1 June 2023, 15:58

Salford council has been criticised for taking the knee
Salford council has been criticised for taking the knee. Picture: Twitter/Handout

By Emma Soteriou

A Labour council has sparked backlash from Salford residents after "taking the knee" for a social media photo.

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Four managers at Salford City Council took the knee in a line outside their headquarters three years on from the murder of George Floyd.

The group included chief executive Tom Stannard, with one member of staff raising a Black Power salute for the picture.

It was shared on Twitter alongside the caption: “Today @‌SalfordCouncil marked the third anniversary of the murder of #GeorgeFloyd.

“May he rest in peace. We will continue to push for a more inclusive society for all.”

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George Floyd was killed in 2020
George Floyd was killed in 2020. Picture: Handout

The post sparked an angry backlash from local residents, with some pointing out that the murder was in the US not Salford.

One person tweeted: "Your employees should get off their knees, drop the pointless virtue signalling and get back to work.

"You may have forgotten this but you're paid to work for the people of Salford and not worship a career criminal thousands of miles away."

Another person said: "As a Salford council tax payer who pays your wages I insist you get off your knees and fill in pot holes, sort out the violence in Salford and the thousands of other things we pay you to do that you ignore. Off you pop."

A third person said: "And why are you taking a knee for something that happened in a completely different country, with different laws completely outside of Salford... Do you take a knee for the vulnerable killed in the Middle East or Africa? South America? Or *just this* virtue signaling nonsense?"

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In response, the council temporarily locked down its Twitter account and became “private”.

A spokesman said it was because “we are currently addressing concerns regarding targeted, unacceptable abuse against individuals and the council on Twitter”.

They added: “We don’t tolerate hate, profanity or abuse on any of our social and digital platforms and will continue to moderate our social media in line with our policies.”

The post was later deleted due to the "targeted abuse".

Robin Garrido, the leader of the council’s Conservative group, said: “The problem with Salford city council is we spend far too much time criticising government policies and not enough time looking after residents.

“It wasn’t necessary. This was an ill-chosen time to do it.”