A Stockport councillor has leapt to the defence of Labour MP Emily Thornberry, saying her forced resignation over an ‘ill-judged’ tweet was an ‘overreaction’.
Thornberry resigned from Labour’s front bench after sending a tweet during the Rochester and Strood by-election which was branded ‘snobby’.
The tweet showed a terraced house with three England flags, and a white van parked outside. UKIP commented that she had: “Sneered, and looked down her nose at a white van in Strood with the cross of St George on it.”
However Stockport councillor Kate Butler believes Thornberry should not have had to resign over the tweet, which she believes was merely pointing out the right-wing attitudes of some of the voters in the area.
“The Tory MPs have tweeted much more judgemental stuff about voters and they completely get away with it,” Butler said.
“She’s just been set up. I think the tweet was ill-judged and I think what she was actually saying is ‘Look, this is what we’re up against’.
“I don’t think there was any judgemental intent in there at all and there has been a massive overreaction to it. I actually feel a bit sorry for her.”
The Reddish North councillor tweeted Labour Party leader Ed Miliband immediately following the news, explaining that it wasn’t judgemental to acknowledge the right-wing working class vote.
.@Ed_Miliband Emily’s tweet translated: “This is what we’re up against”. It’s not judgemental to acknowledge right wing working class vote.
— KATE #WeBackEd (@Kate_Butler) November 21, 2014
She insisted there was no way of knowing whether the flags were raised at the home for political purposes though, especially after England only played Scotland in a friendly two days ago.
“Flags mean different things to different people in different areas on different days. If it’s a World cup qualifying day, then it’s obviously to do with the football,” she added.
“If flags are out on polling day, you could, if you wanted to, say it was some kind of political intention. But there’s no way of knowing unless you knock on the door and ask.
“I don’t think there anything to suggest it was about a right-wing working class vote. That’s just a statement of fact.”
Butler also laid into UKIP, the right-wing party that is attracting growing support across the country.
“You can’t say that you disagree with the rise of UKIP. It’s like disagreeing with the weather. You can’t disagree with the weather because it’s just bloody well there,” she said.
“UKIP need to put their cards on the table and they need to tell all their new supporters exactly what they stand for, because that’s the one thing they haven’t done.
“People like me have been keeping an eye on them for years, but they haven’t been explicit to the people they are asking to vote for them what they actually stand for.”
She then shot down a list of their policies that they aren’t actively communicating to the public.
“Quickly and totally privatising the NHS – they’re not talking to people about that,” she explained.
“They’re not talking about how they want to completely get rid of maternity leave or any maternity rights in employment.
“They’re not talking about how they want to transform employment laws so that they savour big business, not ordinary working people.
“They’re not talking about any of that because they know that if they did, the people that they’re hoping to attract would vote for them.”
Left image courtesy of Emily Thornberry via Twitter, right image courtesy of BBC2 via YouTube, with thanks.