Bradford West MP George Galloway has called for immediate action against a Keighley councillor who posted an online comment saying the politician should “top” himself.
Coun Steve Pullen (Labour, Keighley East), chairman of Bradford Council’s Keighley Area Committee, made the comment on Twitter on Sunday in reply to anti-Galloway user Where’s George.
The spoof feed said: “Will George actually do something for Bradford West this week?” to which Coun Pullen replied: “Maybe top himself?”
Where’s George replied: “Only if he can do it live on Gaza TV.”
Coun Pullen claims it was only a lighthearted exchange, but it led to a furious response from Mr Galloway, who described the councillor as “a disgrace to humanity”.
Mr Galloway said: “I don’t know who Councillor Steve Pullen is, but he’s an absolute disgrace, not just to the Labour party, but to humanity. It’s just a small step to encouraging someone to kill me.
“I have already received death threats in Bradford and while I am sure that Pullen is just a big bag of wind, a tweet like this reveals exactly the kind of person he is. Odious in the extreme. I hope the electors of Keighley East take note.”
Yesterday the MP’s office wrote to Bradford Council Leader David Green and Labour Leader Ed Milliband calling for some kind of punishment. He added: “A man like this has no place in public life, far less an important role in a party I was proud to be a member of for more than 30 years.”
Coun Pullen said the comment was not meant to have been taken seriously. He added: “I’ve got no comment on this. There is obviously no way I’d advocate anyone killing themselves. One of his supporters must have got hold of it and got the wrong end of the stick.”
When asked if he would be taking any action, Coun Green said: “I have received the e-mail from George Galloway’s office, but I haven’t seen the Tweet. I will go back and look for it, but that is all I can say at this time.”
The letter sent to Coun Green and Mr Milliband reads: “It is a disgrace that any Labour councillor should suggest any such thing or engage with an anonymous tweeter whose sole purpose is to denigrate George Galloway and who thinks it amusing to make light of the tragedy in Gaza. I cannot imagine any Respect councillor stooping to such depths, but were such a councillor to suggest such a thing about Gerry Sutcliffe or Ed Miliband, we would issue an immediate apology, take down the tweet and take severe disciplinary action against the culprit. I trust that you will now do the same.”
The tweet was still on the councillor’s feed as of yesterday.