Council leader admits he “may have been” insensitive with Facebook post in aftermath of Manchester attack

South Northamptonshire Council leader Ian McCord
South Northamptonshire Council leader Ian McCord
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The leader of South Northamptonshire Council has admitted that a Facebook post he wrote in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack “may have been” insensitive.

But Councillor Ian McCord said the only people who were critical were “a bunch of left-wing activists”.

Despite all political parties agreeing to suspend campaigning in the days following the attack - which killed 22 people and injured around 120 - Councillor McCord published a post that was critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The post was attacked by some who accused Councillor McCord of exploiting the situation for political gain.

One reader who emailed the newspaper to express her displeasure at the council leader’s message said: “During the awful aftermath of the Manchester bombing, I was disgusted to see the leader of South Northamptonshire council trying to make political capital from the deaths of children on Facebook.

“This was on a day when all major parties had agreed to suspend campaigning.”

Mr McCord was asked whether he thought the timing of the post might have been insensitive, to which he responded: “It may have been but I did take it down, people complained I put it up and they complained when I took it down.”

Since deleting the post, Facebook users have been commenting on Mr McCord’s feed with a screenshot of the removed message.

When asked about his reaction to the public’s anger at the Facebook comment, Mr McCord said: “Most of the posts were from people who have changed their profile photograph to political slogans, so to say ‘the public’ is pushing it. It’s a bunch of left-wing activists who took badly to it.

“Let’s not confuse ‘the public’ for a bunch of left-wing activists, because most of their profile photographs, if you care to glance at them, say ‘I’m supporting Corbyn’ or ‘I’m supporting Labour’.”

He added: “The point is they’re from the same source, I’m not really troubled by it.”

Mr McCord’s post makes clear his scepticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and his distrust for the former Islington North MP was one of the motivations behind the post.

“Corbyn’s background is always to blame everyone else,” said Mr McCord.

“You get to the point where you think ‘Is this man fit and proper to run our country?’ and in my view he is not.”

The deleted post will not leave the public domain as a result of Facebook users screenshotting the message.

But Mr McCord said that the reasons for removing the post were not primarily because of peer pressure.

“I deleted it principally because I saw someone I know in Cosgrove trying to pick a fight with a friend of mine and I could see where it was headed.”