Councillor Warren Swaine apologises for offensive tweet

Reading Councillor Warren Swaine has issued an apology for his actions on 27 January.

I would like to take this opportunity apologise for making derogatory comments during the BBC Question Time programme on the 27th January especially those relating to Chuka Umunna MP. I made a lot of comments that were insulting that night and I regret that.

In respect of one particular tweet, no offense was meant but I absolutely acknowledge that it was recklessly worded and liable to an interpretation that was never intended. For that I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Mr Umunna and to anyone else for any offence caused.

I take the values of the Liberal Democrats very seriously and as someone of mixed heritage myself, I can fully understand why it has upset many people. For that I offer an unreserved apology.

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  • Chris has got there with the statement of the obvious. Too late and so obviously insincere.

  • Ian Stewart 4th Aug '11 - 8:56am

    doh!………..damned for not apologising, and now damned for apologising: priceless!……..let the Councillor reflect on his conduct and his electorate judge his actions………we ALL have things we need to reflect upon.

  • Those 127 words took him nearly 8 months to compose?

    I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but within reason – and it’s hard not to think that if he were truly sincere in his regrets he would’ve come out with an apology straight away.

  • Lester Holloway 4th Aug '11 - 6:45pm

    I’m glad Cllr Swaine has finally apologised. I’m sure it came straight from his heart and had nothing whatsoever to do with an official complaint to Cowley Street, a number of media articles, the intervention of Operation Black Vote and Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats calling for an independent investigation.

    In the end, the failure of the local party to ensure an apology was issued – until internal and external pressure made it inevitable – became a bigger issue than the original offence. This is a lessons the party will do well to heed. Zero tolerence of racism (and things that cause racial offence) and sweeping things under an internal party carpet are incompatible.

    Better procedures for dealing with disciplinary matters may be needed. Certainly,in the context of how far behind the party is generally on BAME representation, being seen to take such matters seriously is a small but crucial part of the strategy for gaining lost ground on racial diversity.

    Spidey is right to say Swaine has a history of behaving inappropriately. Looking at his two blogs reveals a seemingly long-running dispute with the Reading Racial Equality Council, a post titled “race riot” a satirical piece which suggests that a local “street games” tournament will turn into an orgy of crime. Another post in May involved a photoshopped image of the mayor Gul Khan. And that’s before you get to his Tweets…

  • I don’t know Mr Swaine, or anything about this case, so I am not in a position to comment on it directly. All I would say is that it is, from other experiences, extraordinarily difficult to take action at a Local Party level on inappropriate behaviour, certainly against those holding some position in a local area, as very often their behaviour splits local opinion, and decisive action may result in damaging splits. My advice would be to get it as quickly as possible either into a Regional or national forum, eg the Local parties Committee of Regional Party.

  • Lester Holloway 4th Aug '11 - 8:49pm

    @Dave Page – EMLD’s call for an investigation was answered positively: Whether this nebulous or not is a matter of opinion.

    As far as procedures are concerned, hopefully the English Party investigation can look at suggestions. In Reading, the public were wondering WHY a councillor had been readmitted despite failing to properly apologise; so the procedure being more open would help.

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