'Dirty Argies' tweet councillor faces disciplinary action

The tweet Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Mike Lilley, who has links to the Falklands which were invaded by Argentina in 1982, said he has deleted his Twitter account

A councillor in charge of public safety has offered his "deepest apologies" after tweeting about "dirty Argies".

Colchester Borough Council investigated tweets made in July by Labour member Mike Lilley following a complaint.

The council's Governance and Audit Committee is poised to decide what punishment Mr Lilley should face.

Mr Lilley, who said he picked up the phrase "dirty Argies" from his Falkland Islander mother, has since deleted his Twitter account.

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Conservative councillor Beverly Davies lodged a formal complaint about the tweet, which spoke of the high cost of flights to the Falkland Islands.

She said although she felt Mr Lilley was a "good councillor" and "decent person", "the fact that the tweet was written at all demonstrates a deep-seated prejudice".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands, where more than 900 people died, including 655 Argentines, 255 British troops and three islanders, before Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982

In his statement to the council, Mr Lilley, who is the council's portfolio holder for public safety and licensing, said his mother was a Falkland Islander and that he had picked up the derogatory phrase from her following the Argentine invasion of the islands.

The phrase, he said, came from the mess some islanders claimed to find in their homes after the Argentines left.

He said: "I have never met an Argentinean and I certainly do not hate them or anyone else for that matter.

"I have no fear of foreigners, in fact I believe people from other nations have made this country better and I certainly am proud I come from Irish, Scottish, Portuguese, English stock.

"It's not in my nature to hate anyone. My mum did because of what happened during the war... she never forgot what they did to her family."

The council will rule on the matter on 19 September.

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