Candidate says he regrets tweet

Ben Whittingham
Ben Whittingham
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Labour candidate Ben Whittingham has said he “regrets any offence caused” by his tweet calling Winston Churchill a ‘racist and white supremacist’.

The 23-year-old, who was selected to contest the Wyre and Preston North MP seat, came under fire from Conservative MP Ben Wallace last week after the controversial tweet went viral online.

However, Mr Whittingham claims the tweet has been taken out of context.

Mr Whittingham said:“Ben Wallace has been publicising a tweet I made 18 months ago in the context of a debate about who should front the new set of bank notes.

“I naturally regret any offence that may have been caused by this tweet, in which I quoted an article about a famous historian of Churchill.

“I hope that the campaign leading up to next May’s election will focus on the need for a cleaner, fairer politics than we are used to.”

MP Mr Wallace, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, had demanded Mr Whittingham make a public apology. He has now been accused by the Labour Campaign of being a “tactician”.

Bob Denmark of the Labour Campaign Group said: “On the one side we have an aspirational, forward looking young Labour candidate, unafraid to speak his mind and on the other we have an experienced Tory political tactician whose attack on Ben Whittingham is a contrived outrage.”