A conservative Isle of Wight Councillor has liked tweets denying climate change and saying police should not ‘ponce around’ at a Pride event.
Transport cabinet member Cllr Ian Ward said they were not offensive.
“I don’t necessarily agree with the subject of the posts, but there is freedom of speech…We are all entitled to an opinion. I do not ‘like’ anything people may find offensive.”
Cllr Ward was urged to be careful about what he said online, after airing ‘nasty’ views about Brexit on Twitter, and said he would reduce his social media use.
He liked one tweet posted on Saturday (August 10) by London Assembly member David Kurten, which was in reply to a tweet from Surrey Police, who were attending Surrey Pride.
The tweet read:
“The job of the police is to find criminals and lock them up. It is not to ponce around in rainbows at an event run by political activists.”
Cllr Ward said:
“My issue with that is the police are tied up with their duties. I have no problem with Pride whatsoever, but my issue with this is police do not have the time.”
Surrey Police said they were there to ensure the safety of people at Pride, and officers and staff who took part in the parade did so in their free time.
Cllr Ward said he had previously liked a tweet in favour of Pride. The tweet he referred to suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government would not infringe upon LGBTQ+ rights because Mr Johnson had lifted a ban on UK embassies flying the rainbow flag.
A tweet denying climate change was also liked by Cllr Ward on August 1. The tweet read: “Man-made climate change is a scam cooked-up and forced upon us by a self-serving globalist elite as a way to tax us more, restrict our freedoms, and centralise big government and control of the population.”
Cllr Ward said:
“I don’t agree with every single word but I agree with the theme. I think climate change is vastly exaggerated. The globe is constantly changing.”
He was one of six Isle of Wight councillors to vote against declaring a Climate Emergency in a full council meeting last month.
Cllr Ward said he liked lots of tweets and did not want the negatives to be highlighted.
Chair of the Isle of Wight Conservative association, David Pugh, said in April anyone who holds public office should be careful because people take a considerable interest in what elected officials say online.