Mi­grants tweet coun­cil­lor in clear

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Staines Informer - - NEWS -

A TORY coun­cil­lor who shared a photo on Face­book of naked women on a boat with the caption ‘If Carls­berg did il­le­gal im­mi­grants’ will not be dis­ci­plined, the Con­ser­va­tive Party has an­nounced.

Mike Kus­neraitis, who rep­re­sents the party on Run­nymede Bor­ough Coun­cil, made the ‘mis­judged post’ on July 24 in a closed res­i­dents’ Face­book group.

The En­gle­field Green ward coun­cil­lor, who also made a se­ries of anti-Mus­lims posts across two months, in­clud­ing a sex­u­ally ex­plicit cartoon, had in­sisted he ‘never meant to up­set any­one’ and had ‘apol­o­gised whole­heart­edly’.

Pe­ter Tay­lor, chair­man of the Run­nymede & Wey­bridge Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion, said the party found the posts were not racist, ‘al­though they can be crit­i­cised on other grounds’, fol­low­ing an in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary process.

“Coun­cil­lor Kus­neraitis has had con­sid­er­able sup­port from the pub­lic, in­clud­ing the Mus­lim com­mu­nity,” he said.

“We are clear that Cllr Kus­neraitis did not set out to cause of­fence or to pro­pound ex­trem­ist views. He has rightly apol­o­gised for any of­fence caused.

“He thought he was shar­ing ma­te­rial with a closed group of friends and some­one leaked this to the me­dia.”

Mr Tay­lor said the party had found the posts had not brought the Tories into dis­re­pute as 70% of the posts on so­cial me­dia had been in sup­port of him.

“We think that work needs to be done to en­sure coun­cil­lors and lo­cal party of­fi­cers un­der­stand how so­cial me­dia works and will rec­om­mend this,” he said. “We will now draw a line un­der this un­for­tu­nate event.”

Sur­rey county coun­cil­lor and chair­man of the Run­nymede & Wey­bridge Labour Party, Robert Evans, said the Con­ser­va­tives’ de­ci­sion not to dis­ci­pline Cllr Kus­neraitis was ‘very dis­ap­point­ing’.

“It shows an ex­treme lack of judge­ment on the part of the lo­cal Con­ser­va­tives and re­ally does beg the ques­tion whether he should con­tinue as a coun­cil­lor as some­one who holds those views,” he said.

“What they should be ques­tion­ing is if this man is a suit­able per­son to rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity? I’d say he’s not.

“I think some­body who thinks it’s ac­cept­able to posts pic­tures like that has such flawed judge­ment and is not fit to be a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mu­nity.

“Be­ing a coun­cil­lor is a se­ri­ous po­si­tion and you’ve got to have the right bal­ance of judge­ment. This means he doesn’t.

“You’ve got to re­alise that if you’re us­ing Twit­ter, or stuff like that, if some­one holds those views they are not the right per­son to be rep­re­sent­ing other peo­ple.”

Cllr Kus­neraitis could not be reached for a com­ment.

Coun­cil­lor Mike Kus­neraitis, and his tweet.

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