Conservative Harrow MP slammed for bragging about blocking Brent Council from honouring Nelson Mandela
PUBLISHED: 13:46 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 17:57 17 December 2013
A Conservative MP has come under fire after he tweeted that he was glad he had blocked moves by Brent Council to honour Nelson Mandela.
Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, took to the social networking site on Sunday to tell his 924 followers his views on the first black president of South Africa remained the same as his funeral took place on Sunday.
Mr Mandela died at his Johannesburg home on December 5 at the age of 95.
Mr Blackman was the leader of the Brent Tories and a councillor for the Preston ward in Wembley when he took legal action to block the proposals by the borough’s Labour Party.
He tweeted “Proud to have supported preventing Brent Labour Party’s illegal attempt to use Mandela for party political stunt in 1990 Brent elections.”
The late Cllr Dorman Long, who was the leader of the council at the time, planned to award Mr Mandela the ‘freedom of the borough’ weeks after his released from prison in 1990.
Mr Mandela had been the guest of honour at a celebratory which took place in Wembley Stadium.
When challenged by a furore of Tweets Mr Blackman remained unrepentant replying : “my view is unchanged.”
His critics included Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of Brent Council, who tweeted: “poor judgement in 1990 and now in 2013. You will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. #politicalstuntgonewrong”
Cllr Allison Hopkins, Liberal Democrat councillor for Dollis Hill, tweeted: “Someone please tell me that this idiot’s Twitter account has been hacked. Can he really be this dim?”.
A Twitter user @Scribbles123 said: “Most unfortunate to see a member of govt using #Madiba funeral as an opportunity for partisan points scoring.”
Uma Kumara the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East has called for Mr Blackman to apologise.
She said: “Following a week of worldwide celebration of the life and service of Nelson Mandela the comments by Harrow East’s Tory MP Bob Blackman are deeply inappropriate, insensitive and ill timed.
“It shows just how out of touch he is with our community and I’m calling on him to apologise.”
In June this year Brent Council finally awarded Mr Mandela the freedom of the borough following an unanimous vote by councillors.
Cllr Butt said: “Nelson Mandela was the world’s greatest citizen. I’m proud that Brent Council was this summer able to right the wrong of 1990 and finally award him the freedom of our borough. I’m especially proud that this action was unanimously supported by councillors from all parties.
“It should be clear to all that Nelson Mandela deserved our respect and acclamation in 1990 just as he does now, not least as he demonstrated that by abandoning bitterness and embracing past adversaries we can build a better world.
“Bob Blackman could learn a thing or two from the great man.”
Mr Blackman failed to respond to the Times.
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