Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the post ‘did a disservice to all those affected by’ the Liverpool Women’s Hospital attack
A Tory councillor who posted a mocked up image depicting Jeremy Corbyn at the scene of the Liverpool terror attack has apologised and agreed to pay “substantial damages”.
Cllr Paul Nickerson, of East Riding District Council, in Yorkshire, said he took “full responsibility” for the tweet, which included a doctored image of the former Labour leader holding a wreath next to a burning taxi.
He captioned the picture “unsurprisingly”. He later deleted the tweet amid a furious backlash.
At the time, he told the Mirror that his social media account had been hacked.
But Cllr Nickerson, who was suspended by the council’s Tory group, published an apology on Tuesday and said he would pay Mr Corbyn’s legal costs and substantial damages.
He said: “The tweet targeted Jeremy Corbyn and included a fake photograph of him laying a poppy wreath at the site of a burning taxi outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where a terror attack had taken place on Remembrance Sunday, killing a suicide bomber and injuring others.
“The false photograph, captioned by the word ‘unsurprisingly’, gave the completely untrue impression that Jeremy Corbyn supports terrorist violence, including suicide bombings, which, without any hesitation, I wholly accept he does not.
“Without reservation, I fully withdraw any suggestion or inference that Jeremy Corbyn is a supporter of terrorist violence. The tweet was wrong and I retract it.
“I unreservedly and sincerely apologise to Mr Corbyn for the hurt and distress that has been caused to him by the tweet.
“I entirely accept that the posting of the message the day after Remembrance Sunday aggravated the hurtful nature of the defamatory tweet.”
Cllr Nickerson’s tweet alluded to controversy back in 2018 over pictures of Mr Corbyn attending a wreath-laying ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery in 2014.
Critics accused him of honouring the masterminds of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
But Mr Corbyn denied the allegation and said he was paying tribute to the memory of those killed in a 1985 Israeli air strike in Tunis.
The former Labour leader instructed his solicitor to bring legal proceedings for libel following the tweet.
In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: “The bomb attack on Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday was a horrific crime, which could have killed or maimed countless victims, including new mothers and their babies.
“Councillor Paul Nickerson’s photoshopped Twitter post about me failed to understand the seriousness of the threat and did a disservice to all those affected by the attack and their loved ones.
“So I welcome his decision to apologise for his defamatory post, to agree not to repeat the tweet which he has deleted and to pay substantial damages and legal costs.
“This substantial settlement will be used to support charities that are close to my heart: including one in Liverpool and one in my constituency.”