POLITICS
04/05/2018 17:53 BST | Updated 04/05/2018 17:59 BST

Tory Who Called Diane Abbott A 'Pig' Reinstated As Member Straight After Election

Anthony Mullen has suspension lifted despite "offensive" tweets in second incident of its kind on Thursday.

Anthony Mullen

A Tory suspended for “offensive” social media posts was reinstated by the party as soon as he was elected as a councillor. 

Antony Mullen was suspended by CCHQ following Twitter posts, which  included describing Sunderland, whose council he has been elected onto, as a “post-apocalyptic ****hole” and Labour MP Diane Abbott as a “filthy, bulbous pig”.

The teaching assistant won the Barnes ward of Sunderland with a 322 majority over his Labour rival - and the Tories quickly lifted his suspension with “immediate effect”. 

It is the second instance of post-election reinstatement which has come to light after Pendle councillor Rosemary Carroll was welcomed back into the party - and thus tipping the balance of power in favour of the Conservative on Pendle Council. Carroll had shared a post which compared Asians to a dog, but her suspension was swept away the morning of her re-election. 

A party statement says Mullen’s tweets were made between four and seven years ago while he was a student and before becoming a Conservative member.

Their probe concluded his posts “may not have been to everyone’s taste” but  “there was never any intention to offend or cause hurt”.

In a post-election statement, Mullen has apologised for comments adding:  “I wish to state that I did not at anytime intend to cause offence to anyone,” he added.

“Most of the tweets have been wildly construed to give an unfavourable impression of me.

“I can only apologise wholeheartedly to anyone the tweets offended as they were misrepresented in the press.

“The passing of time has removed them from their original context.

“I now look forward to representing the residents of Barnes Ward who have elected me their councillor.”

Mullen also received criticism, and accusations of racism, for using the slogan “From Here, For Here” in his campaign literature.

But Sunderland Conservative Chairman, Graham Hall, said this “was not a racist remark but a statement of fact that he is from the Barnes Ward and his intention to represent and fight for the residents of the Barnes Ward where he has been duly elected”.

He added: “Many of Antony Mullen’s tweets were taken totally out of context and used to try and assassinate Antony Mullen’s character in an effort to portray him in an unfavourable light to the electorate.

“It is encouraging to see that enough of the electorate saw through this cynical attempt to derail his campaign and voted for him.