A Conservative county councillor representing Ramsgate has now admitted that social media posts branded Islamophobic were written by him.
Paul Messenger has been suspended from the Tory Party pending an investigation over the posts, said to have been made in 2013/2014.
The investigation means he is no longer eligible to stand in the May local elections for the party.
Posts that were highlighted include one that says: “Let’s not fool ourselves here; The Muslim Communities living in Britain would like to see the whole country Muslim. Whether this is achieved by violent or stealth – they would prefer this – it’s natural and you could argue within their rights to do this.
“After some considerable thought I have come up with this suggestion – given that MI5 have to commit considerable resources Into the protection and prevention of ‘home grown’ Islamic threat far more than when the IRA were doing their worst to us, then I believe the peaceful British Islamic Society should pay for this extra cost.”
Yesterday Cllr Messenger said he “expressly denied” writing the posts but today he made a U Turn and admitted they were his.
In an apology issued this morning he said: “I want to apologise unreservedly for the historic Islamophobia that I put up on social media. They are no longer my views and never should have been my views in the first place.
“The posts are repellent and ignorant. And they are just the kind of views extreme Right-Wing views I campaigned against so hard in the 2016 referendum. I don’t believe anyone’s ethnicity or religion should ever be used for political purposes. Or to question anyone’s full inclusion in British society and culture.
“So, it is absolutely unforgiveable that I didn’t delete these posts from my timeline. And it is equally unforgiveable that I didn’t publicly refute them. I do so now.
“But, over and above this general apology, I need to say sorry to two groups of people in particular. First, the Muslim community of the UK. Any of you who have met me since I became a KCC councillor will know I respect your religion and I respect each and every one of you as individuals. So, I hope the Muslim community will grant me the privilege of apologising to you directly for my previously abhorrent views.
“I also need to apologise to the Conservative Associations of Thanet. I have brought our party into disrepute. So, I fully accept my suspension and any further disciplinary action which may follow. And, of course, I am standing down as a candidate for TDC councillor in Margate Central with immediate effect.
“On a more personal note, I am mortified by the offence and distress I have caused. To my friends, to my family and especially to my wife. I hope to earn their forgiveness. And to show them and everyone else in Thanet who I am now: a liberal, One-Nation Conservative who thinks any kind of Islamophobia or even the slightest anti-Muslim prejudice has no place in our party, our community or our country. “
Call for expulsion
Kent Anti-Racism Network (KARN) is calling for Mr Messenger to be expelled from the party.
A KARN spokesperson said: “Views such as those expressed by Paul Messenger cannot be tolerated, and we are calling on local people to write to the South and North Thanet Conservative Associations to demand Paul Messenger’s resignation.”
Labour county councillor Karen Constantine branded the posts as “Islamaphobic, racist and utterly deplorable,” saying Mr Messenger should now ‘consider his suitability for office.”
She added: “It seems his late admission of ‘guilt’ and fulsome apology has been only been prompted by irrefutable evidence that he did make these repugnant statements. That also is a serious error of judgement. I would urge him again to consider his suitability for public office and to reflect on the Nolan principles.”
A North Thanet Conservative Association said the organisation “ is aware of this complaint and the matter is being fully investigated.”
Cllr Messenger will not be standing down from his role at county council. He will remain as an Independent. He will not be allowed to take part in any Conservative member meetings, or use their facilities.
You brought your party into disrepute Paul? No, no it’s exactly what we expect from you Tories.
Damage limitation to try and stay on the ticket for election time.
Well as Paul Messenger himself says: “unforgiveable”! And good to see Karen Constantine condemning him at last, having believed – it seems – that she could work with him over the stroke unit campaign.
Shame you couldn’t resist attacking a member of your own party, with insubstantiated – ‘it seems’- claims, rather than the real culprit. Amazing what can be achieved from the middle of the Atlantic when you’re really motivated!
So why not just admit to it in the first place, rather than lying & pretending somebody hacked your account?
I wonder what drove this Counsellor to be Islamophobic??? Could it have been due to the ISIS terrorist cutting the heads off of innocent Aid workers / hostages?? Or could it be that those who are don’t want anything to do with Islam are often targeted by Islam extremists as fair game to kill. Or could it be because of the young soldier private Rigden who was hacked to death on a London street by two Islamic followers ??? Or could it be because of those Islamic followers who mowed down innocent pedestrians on the streets.??? Or could it be because of the Islamic terriost who killed innocent concert goers in Manchester. ??? I do wonder what ever made the counsellor think and say what he said.
Thinking isn’t the problem-he is perfectly entitled to have whatever views he wants in his own head, posting it on social media-especially when you are supposed to be representing all communities is. As for the atrocities, you can say the same thing about other faiths-sexist, xenophobic, racist, bigoted, sexual abuse of children & the covering up of, bombing termination clinics/shooting the staff there etc. Why punish the majority for the actions of a minority?
Might be nice if you got the young soldiers name right if you going to bring him into it.
“So, it is absolutely unforgiveable that I didn’t delete these posts from my timeline. And it is equally unforgiveable that I didn’t publicly refute them.”
Quite so. Unforgivable.
Interesting that Messenger seems to think his “unforgivable” act was not deleting the posts from his timeline.
Apparently, it’s not thinking, believing or saying racist crap that’s the problem. It’s the fact that you didn’t cover it up properly and ended up getting caught that’s “unforgivable”.
That says absolutely everything you need to know about the man. He is totally unfit to be a councillor – for this and for many other reasons.
I was stung by a wasp once, I hate wasp. There I have said it now. I expect the “We love to kiss wasp on the lips Society.” Will not be happy about my comments.
What a crap analagy. Even if you’d been harmed by someone who turned out to be (for example, but not necessarily, a Muslim) it wouldn’t be a reason to hate all Muslims (or whatever).
He blatantly lied yesterday then. He needs to take a look at the Nolan principles that govern behaviour of those in public life.
I doubt there will be much sympathy for a man who has made a mini career out of exposing others for what he claims is their wrong doing on social media and in time wasting Complaint to disciplinary boards and the police. Perhaps he does not realise that his initial defence had already been tried a few years ago by Labour’s Mike Harrison, who, like Messenger, never apologised for the additional lie. Given his most recent post regarding an experience in Ramsgate High Street, Messenger’s claim he is a one nation pro immigration Tory is just another lie. As somebody pointed out to me earlier today, Messenger’s posts would got him expelled from UKIP, even given its current direction. Everyone knows he cannot be trusted with confidential information, and fulfils that famous dictum about lying politicians par excellence. Karma’s a real bitch, eh Pauline?
Chris, if there has been a recent incident, I hope you will report it via the correct channels, ie send it to to Brandon Lewis, CC Sayeeda Warsi and also send to the Muslim Council of Britain.
Apologies are all very well, but does anyone really believe that these were his views, but are no longer his views. I prefer to believe that these were his views and are still his views. After all, he saw no reason to remove the comments or apologise until he was caught out.
I wonder what Bob Marley would make of all of this if he were alive today… One love.
Maybe it is time to remind Paul that he has dropped others in it by not removing his posts. Certain Tory TDC councillors might like to remember they also commented in agreement with his views
The troll councillor who looks at peoples timelines to dig up dirt on them, has been trolled, KARMA!
Let’s not pretend this is the politically correct brigade gone mad or some other tedious snowflake reference. Let’s also not pretend terrorism is the exclusive domain of one faith or race. To suggest all people of one faith are to be feared because of a minority of extremists is absurd and wrong and divisive. It is the equivalent of casting any nation or faith with the same brush because of the acts of a few. The terrorist atrocity committed in NZ this week was a white Christian. Are we suggesting all white Christians are to be feared? Of course not because that would be a gross overreaction and unfair. Comments made in public office which generate a divisive and stereotyped community are unforgiveable, incitement to racial hatred is illegal. I am not sure what Messenger stands for apart from a failed airport and a desire for QEQM to lose it’s stoke unit.
I rather think that Benton Tarrant is a Christian: what he did was completely against Christian doctrine.
What about Messenger’s position as a KCC councillor ? Is he going to do the honourable thing and step down ? Can a councillor suspended by his party continue to take the whip at KCC ?
Or does the KCC Conservative group have a different set of standards ?
It was telling that Margate didn’t want him as their councillor. The sooner Ramsgate gets rid of this awful man the better.
Go back to playing the guitar Paul. Best place for you
Notice how his first instinct is to lie about it, until irrefutable evidence was presented.
“Go back to playing the guitar Paul. Best place for you”
I don’t think he’s any good at that, either. Probably went to the University of Life and the School of Hard Knocks.