Tory politician claims ‘White Lives Matter’ tweet was ‘taken out of context’

A woman looks at a graffiti art piece on Black Lives Matter on a wall in the Stokes Croft area of Br

A woman looks at a graffiti art piece on Black Lives Matter on a wall in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

A Tory politician has claimed a tweet using a white supremacist slogan during the Black Lives Matter protests was 'taken out of context'.

Tory councillor Simon Lumley used the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag as people took to the streets of the UK in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd.

Lumley, who sits on Melton Borough Council in Melton Mowbray and chairs the licensing committee, tweeted the hashtag on June 2.

The slogan has been used in America by members of the white supremacist hate group the Ku Klux Klan, as well as far-right organisation Britain First here.

The use of such a hashtag has been widely criticised and prompted calls for the Tories to kick him out of the party.

Simon Lumley's tweet about White Lives Matter. Photograph: Twitter.

Simon Lumley's tweet about White Lives Matter. Photograph: Twitter. - Credit: Archant

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Lumley has since deleted the tweet. He is issued an 'unreserved' apology, but then claimed it had been 'taken out of context'.

He told local news service Leicestershire Live: 'I am not a racist and I support Black Lives Matter.

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'I am extremely sorry for my tweet and apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused.'

But he later tweeted: 'I apologise for any offence I may have caused.

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'However my tweet was taken out of context. To be clear ALL LIVES MATTER.'

Leah Toseland responded: 'Every life matters, but Black people are the ones being persecuted right now and that is why their lives matter right now.'

Helen Cliff wrote: 'Please explain the acceptable context for quoting a far-right racist slogan as an elected public servant. 'All Lives Matter' misses the point but is honourable in intent. Reaching for 'White Lives Matter' and apologising after the fact blaming context, is still frankly concerning'

Carol Hopkinson tweeted: 'Standing down as a councillor should the only acceptable action. Abhorrent and unacceptable. He should be off the council immediately.'

'In what context would that tweet have sounded better?' asked one.

Another said: 'Not a single, single soul in all of this is saying that white lives don't matter. The very problem is, is that they are valued higher than black lives and that is still very much a problem today, no matter how much we pretend otherwise to make ourselves feel better.'

Earlier this week a Tory councillor branded slave trader Edward Colston a 'hero', in remarks that Downing Street refused to comment on.

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