Published: 13:03, 23 March 2017
A Conservative county councillor has been suspended from the party after suggesting that the terror attack in London was Labour’s fault.
Cllr Jim Wedgbury, who is Kent county councillor for Ashford Central, posted a tweet responding to one by the commentator and journalist Julie Hartley-Brewer.
She described the terror attack and said: “This is the country we now live in.”
Cllr Wedgbury replied: “The Labour party are to blame.”
He has now been suspended from the party by the Ashford Conservative association, pending a full inquiry.
He has also been deselected as a candidate in the county council election and had the whip removed at Ashford council by leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson.
Cllr Wedgbury’s post drew a quick response from a fellow Ashford councillor Neil Bell, who said: “Jim, please delete your tweet immediately.”
Another Conservative Ashford councillor Graham Galpin posted: “I have to disassociate myself from this statement.”
Labour councillor Brendan Chilton said that the tweet was “appalling” and deserved expulsion from the party and “de-selection as a minimum.”
Mr Wedgbury, also an Ashford borough councillor, has now deleted the tweet and said: “I admit I made a mistake and reacted in the heat of the moment.”
He was stressed over the incident because his mother was a casualty in an IRA bomb blast in Eltham, London, in the 1980s.
But he said Labour should expel “anyone who has failed to condemn all terrorist attacks.
“When you know people in Labour like John McDonnell have shared a platform with terrorists you can see why I was stressed about things.”
He is standing as a KCC candidate for the same division he was first elected to in 2005, but sources say he may now be deselected.