Tory politician brands slave trader Edward Colston a ‘hero’
- Credit: PA
A Tory councillor in Bristol has described slave trader Edward Colston a 'hero' and the toppling of the statue in his city as a 'frenzied thug violence'.
Cllr Richard Eddy said that he was 'horrified and appalled' by scenes over the weekend which saw the statue of Colston pulled down and then tipped into the Floating Harbour.
Eddy, who said vandalising or stealing a proposed second plaque from the statue which described his slave links 'may be justified' two years before, told Bristol Live he was 'horrified' by the actions of protesters.
'I am horrified and appalled by the rank lawlessness which was exposed in Bristol on Sunday when the famous statue of Edward Colston was attacked and vandalised by a criminal mob,' he said.
He continued: 'Edward Colston to me and generations of Bristolians stands out as a hero whose wealth has continued to benefit the housing, education and healthcare of the citizens of this city'.
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He said he had received more mail about the statue being pulled down than any other topic in his time on the council.
'Since this frenzied thug violence on Sunday, I have received a stream of outraged responses from constituents and others - more than I've even received in such a short time in my 28-year council service,' he claimed.
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'I am equally outraged by the feeble comments, effectively condoning violence, of Mayor Marvin Rees and the pathetic hand-wringing of senior Avon & Somerset police officers. Over the coming days and weeks, both need to be held to account by Bristolians,' he added.
In 2001, Cllr Eddy resigned as deputy leader of the council's conservative group after adopting a golliwog as a mascot and facing criticism from racial equality groups and his own party.
Asked about Cllr Eddy's praise of Edward Colston as a 'hero', Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: 'I haven't seen those comments, the PM won't have seen those comments.'
Pressed if Johnson regards Colston as a hero, the spokesman said: 'It's not a discussion I've had with him, you've got his words from last night and I have nothing more to add.'