A Tory councillor has ‘apologised’ after tweeting a far right slogan in the midst of a global push against anti-black racism.
Councillor Simon Lumley, who sits on Melton borough council in Leicestershire, tweeted “#WhiteLivesMatter” in a now-deleted tweet posted on 3 June.
The tweet was captured by screenshots published in Leicestershire Live.
The hashtag is a well-known phrase used by white supremacists in order to minimise the relaity of police brutality and its disproportionate impact on black people.
So Lumley’s invocation of the hashtag, following widespread protests after the killing of yet another black man at the hands of the police, was deeply disturbing.
Lumley claims his tweet – which was just the standalone hashtag – was taken out of context.
It is hard to see how, given the entire tweet was “#WhiteLivesMatter”.
The councillor – whose Twitter feed consists of retweets referring to “anti-white propaganda” from black politicians like David Lammy, and references to Black Lives Matter protesters as a “mob” – says he is “not racist”.
Speaking to Leicestershire Live, he said:
I am not a racist and I support Black Lives Matter.
I am extremely sorry for my tweet and apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused.
However, Lumley went on to clarify his “unreserved” apology.
I apologise for any offence I may have caused.
However my tweet was taken out of context. To be clear ALL LIVES MATTER.
The phrase “All lives matter” has been similarly accused of racism, as it seeks to downplay the BLM movement and suggests it’s wrong to highlight the specific racism experienced by black individuals.
Some people tried to explain this to Lumley.
Other constituents said they were “disgusted” and it was clearly "racist".
There were also calls for Lumley to resign.
But council leader Joe Orson said Lumley was being “naive”.
“I have no time for any type of racism, and Simon has told me he supports Black Lives Matter,” said Orson.
"I have asked him to apologise and tweet an apology, which he has.
"There has been a certain naivety. Simon didn’t know the significance of that phrase.
"He has been severely warned about his future conduct”.
Yes, we’re sure he’s very sorry.