A former Tory minister has told a Twitter user to “get stuffed” after the politician denounced the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Simon Clarke, a former communities minister until he resigned in September, tweeted in support of environment secretary George Eustice, who refused to criticise Millwall fans when they booed players taking the knee.
Eustice told Sky News that BLM is “actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in which is standing up for racial equality”.
“Each individual can take their own choices about how they reflect this and I know a number of people feel quite strongly and have taken that approach.”
Clarke defended the remarks against criticism from supporters. He wrote: “This is completely right. Racism is an evil that demands our common determination to defeat. But the BLM movement has a specific and controversial political agenda, as they themselves have declared. We cannot conflate one with the other and it’s time this was said clearly.”
But criticising the MP, Labour politician Anna Turley replied: “Teesside Tories at it again. The only people conflating the clear, mainstream Black Lives Matter message with a ‘controversial political agenda’ are the ones who want to delegitimise and deny it.”
As a row ensued, Turley told Clarke to stop trying to stoke another culture war.
She tweeted: “Stop trying to conflate that nonsense with a mainstream statement of anti-racism and equality in sport. And stop fighting your divisive culture wars Simon. I know it helped you win an election last year but it’s dangerous and Britain is better than this.”
This man is an elected official who responds like this after stirring the pot on racism on a public platform. Good grief, what a joke 🥴 https://t.co/FByDpTwPIi
— Holly Gallagher (@hollyrachael_) December 7, 2020
She added: “Footballers taking the knee and the fans who applaud this are not supporting a political party. You know this yet deliberately try to conflate the two and undermine this important movement. Taking the side of a minority of hardline Millwall fans is not the way to help tackle racism”
One Twitter user praised Turley’s intervention. “Spot on Anna. Deliberately disingenuous, yet again, and this time intervening on the behalf of racists. There’s no cause too low to take advantage of, it seems,” he replied.
In a response that has been criticised by fellow users, Clarke snapped back: “Get. Stuffed.”
“The public is paying his salary,” reminded one. “You’re an MP – what a pathetic reply,” said Julie Atkinson.
Yiannis Baboulias commented: “I wonder if some MPs know that this is public”.
“This man is an elected official who responds like this after stirring the pot on racism on a public platform. Good grief, what a joke,” added Holly Gallagher.