Oxford

Oxfordshire Labour councillor apologises over 'burn Tory' tweets

Owen Collins Image copyright Ric Mellis
Image caption Labour councillor Owen Collins said he sincerely apologised over the comments

A Labour councillor who tweeted he wanted to "burn Oxford colleges with every Tory MP inside" has apologised.

Owen Collins, a councillor for West Oxfordshire District Council and Witney Town Council, said the comments were sparked after watching The Riot Club.

The film follows an exclusive dining club at Oxford University. It has been compared to the Bullingdon Club, whose alumni include Boris Johnson.

Mr Collins said he "sincerely apologises" to those offended.

The leader of Witney Town Council, Rosa Bolger, said she has reported her councillor to the Labour Party for investigation, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

On Saturday evening Mr Collins tweeted he wanted to "burn every single Oxford college to the ground, preferably with every single Tory MP inside one of them".

He added: "The Conservative Party is a cancer on this country. It always has been and always will be."

Ms Bolger said: "We condemn any messages of this nature and want to make clear it is not representative of who we are either as Witney Labour or the wider party."

Image copyright Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron and Boris Johnson were both members of the Bullingdon Club

Responding to the tweets, West Oxfordshire Council's Conservative deputy leader Toby Morris, said: "This is frankly shocking and disturbing and I wonder what the people who elected councillor Collins would make of it.

"The inability to respect someone who holds a different view is so sad."

In a statement, Mr Collins said: "Recent tweets of mine contained thoughtless, and obviously flippant, comments, the content and tone of which I regret.

"With that in mind, I have deleted the tweets in question and I sincerely apologise to anyone who has been offended by them."

Witney Town Council said the comments had not broken its code of conduct. The district council said it had not received any complaints about Mr Collins' messages.

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