Calls for Portsmouth councillor to apologise for 'offensive' social media posts as Conservative party remain silent

CALLS have been made for a Portsmouth councillor to 'at least' apologise for sharing 'racist and offensive' posts on social media.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 5:35 pm
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 7:12 am
Councillor Linda Symes came under fire for sharing 'offensive' posts on Facebook.

Conservative Councillor Linda Symes, who represents Eastney and Craneswater ward, came under fire for sharing various posts on Facebook that claimed 'all lives matter' and asked why there were no riots following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

Another stated: 'Because of his ethnicity Khan (Sadiq) will remain Mayor.' The posts have since been removed.

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Portsmouth councillor under fire for ‘undeniably racist’ posts

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Waterlooville resident Anita Anongu speaking at the Black Lives Matter protest. Anita has called for Cllr Symes to be suspended and 'at least' apologise. Picture: Andrea Talman

Yesterday evening, it was confirmed by Portsmouth City Council that she had been suspended by the Conservative Party.

At the time she said: ‘Every life matters and what we need now is calm and common sense. In sharing the posts I was not being racist.'

The Conservative party both nationally and locally has not commented on the situation despite being approached several times by The News.

A Black Lives Matter protest, that was sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police in America, was held in Portsmouth this week.

Waterlooville resident Anita Anongu at the Black Lives Matter protest with other supporters.

Mum-of-two Anita Anongu, from Waterlooville, who spoke at the protest found the posts 'upsetting.'

The 52-year-old said: 'People were very angry and upset about those posts.

'There have always been really bad equality issues in Havant and Portsmouth in general. I was bullied growing up, I've been attacked before. There's a real sense that people just aren't aware of these things and what this councillor has said proves it.

'I was not surprised to see the posts but I am surprised the councillor has not apologised. To me the posts were extremely racist and offensive. I think she should be suspended but at least apologise because she still hasn't.'

Tory Councillor Linda Symes has come under fire for sharing and liking alleged racist posts on social media

'Back in the 1970s we didn't speak out about these things because we never got anywhere. But now we know we have actually got a voice.'

Simon Magorian, one of the co-ordinators of Portsmouth Stand Up to Racism, agreed. He said: 'There are some people who spend their time going through historical posts and messages by politicians to find things like this but these were not historical posts. It's a disgrace.'

It comes as Lyn Rigby, the mother of soldier Lee Rigby, asked publicly that posts referring to him were not used in this way. She said: 'We find these posts extremely heartbreaking and distressing, and in complete opposition to what Lee stood for.

Tory Councillor Linda Symes has come under fire for sharing and liking alleged racist posts on social media

'We ask you all to please stop using his image and memory in such posts as he was a lover of all humanity, every race, gender, creed, sexuality and colour.'

Cllr Symes was approached for comment.

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Tory Councillor Linda Symes has come under fire for sharing and liking alleged racist posts on social media

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