Mayor apologises for calling UKIP ‘racists and homophobes’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A town Mayor from Cumbria has apologised to a UK Independence Party member after describing the party as “racist and homophobic” on Twitter.

Andrew Lawson, the 21-year-old mayor of Workington, had a disagreement with Mark Jenkinson, who set up west Cumbria’s first branch of the UKIP Independence Party (UKIP), reports the News and Star.

The argument started when Mr Jenkinson suggested that the Labour Party had adopted the same stance as  UKIP on immigration.

Mr Lawson tweeted that he did not know what had been said “but it can’t be half as bad as you and your racist pals, oh and homophobic”.

The young mayor did apologise for the tweet, but Mr Jenkinson refused to accept it, saying that he had apologised for “any offence caused” as opposed to “the offence itself”.

Andrew Lawson then issued an apology on Wednesday. He said: I would like to publicly apologies [sic] to @markjenk @uknoel and @UKIP for any offence I may have caused in my sinformed and unjustifiable comments made in any of my previous tweets. I am sorry.”

Mr Jenkinson replied: “Thanks. Wld like 2 think its not just lip service and you’ve taken some time to read policy and understand your misinformation” before retweeting the apology.

After the argument, Mr Lawson said: “We just had a disagreement and I have apologised and it’s water under the bridge now. I did it off my own back and it’s all resolved and me and Mark are both sorted.”

Mr Jenkinson, however, has asked that his complaint be referred to Allerdale standards committee, and has asked Barbara Cannon, chair of the constituency Labour Party, who nominated Mr Lawson for his post, to treat it as a formal complaint.

Andre Lawson previously referred to Noel Matthews, the Cumbrian chairman of UKIP, and his party, “fascists”, on Twitter back in July.

Mr Matthews commented, saying: “It’s a tired argument that doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. It shows the weakness of their point of view.”

He said that he could not stand for a racist party, and that his wife was from the Phillipines, with who he has two children. He also said he had received no apology from Mr Lawson.

He has since referenced a Sunday Mirror article which claimed to have uncovered “a sickening catalogue of racist and homophobic views held by some of its biggest supporters.”

Followed by: “I think over these past couple of week we’ve seen what Britain’s 4th party are really like #ukip #nastyparty“.

Today the mayor tweeted: “This week I will be creating another twitter account for my personal tweets and one account for official tweets”.

Britain’s youngest mayor, Andrew Lawson was sworn into office as Workington’s mayor in May 2012.

UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) last week removed the chairman of its youth wing, Young Independence, in part due to his support for same-sex marriage. It has not however removed officials before for stating that gay couples adopting is “child abuse” or that people who read PinkNews should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Then, just days later, a UKIP Parliamentary candidate was forced to resign following his support for equal marriage.

In November, the UK Independence Party restated its opposition to equal marriage rights for gay couples.