Aidan Burley says 'leftie multi-cultural' tweet misunderstood

Aidan Burley MP: ''I don't regret pointing out the fact that it (the ceremony) became politicised at the end''

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Conservative MP Aidan Burley has said a tweet in which he referred to "leftie multi-cultural" rubbish in the Olympic opening ceremony was "misunderstood".

After the tweet provoked a flurry of criticism on Twitter, he said: "I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself."

In an earlier tweet, the MP for Cannock Chase said it was "the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen".

A Downing Street source said: "We do not agree with him."

The Games opening ceremony included sequences about the National Health Service. Its artistic director, Danny Boyle, said the theme was "this is for everyone".

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

In his initial post on Twitter referring to the ceremony, Mr Burley wrote: "The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?"

He followed it with: "Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!"

Before adding: "Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself."

Speaking later to BBC WM Mr Burley re-iterated that he had not been having a go at multiculturalism.

"I agree it should be celebrated," he said.

"I wasn't having a go at multiculturalism itself, I was having a go at the rather trite way, frankly, it was represented in the opening ceremony."

He added his tweets might not have been the greatest thing for his career, but if it started a debate then it can only have been a good thing.

"We all love the NHS but really for all the people watching overseas, 20 minutes of children and nurses jumping on beds, that seems quite strange.

"And then we had all these rappers - that is what got me to the point about multiculturalism."

He said rap music was enjoyed by a relatively small section of society, young people mainly.

"Is that what we are most proud of culturally?" he said.

David Cameron last year sacked Mr Burley as parliamentary private secretary to Transport Secretary Justine Greening for "offensive and foolish" behaviour during a Nazi-themed stag party.

The MP for Cannock in Staffordshire apologised for the "inappropriate behaviour" of fellow guests at the party.

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