Paul Nickerson has apologised and claims his account was hacked
Jeremy Corbyn is launching legal action against a Conservative councillor whose account posted a tweet mocking him.
The former Labour leader is acting in response to a crudely composited image that depicted him laying a poppy wreath on the burning wreck of the taxi caught up in the Liverpool hospital bombing.
The image was posted to the Twitter account of Paul Nickerson, a Tory councillor in East Riding in Yorkshire, accompanied by the comment: “Unsurprisingly.”
Mr Nickerson, who has been suspended by his council’s Conservative group, deleted the tweet and apologised – but claimed his account had been hacked by friends playing a joke. He told the BBC: “As soon as I was able I deleted the comments.”
Mr Nickerson is also thought to have apologised personally to Mr Corbyn, who represents Islington North in the Commons.
However, a spokesperson for the Labour MP confirmed to the PA news agency he had contacted his solicitor and was taking legal action.
The original tweet is understood to be a reference to photographs of Mr Corbyn attending a wreath-laying ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery.
A row erupted in 2018 when the then-Labour leader said he had been present when wreaths were laid at the Tunis site in 2014 to commemorate the victims of an attack in Paris in 1992, but did not think he was “actually involved in it”.
Mr Nickerson now faces an investigation by his local Conservative colleagues.
Jonathan Owen, the leader of the Tories on East Riding Council, said in a statement: “All people in public life, irrespective of politics, should be united in condemning the terrorist attack that took place outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday.
“It is not the time for inappropriate remarks, however intended. Residents should expect their elected representatives to act in an appropriate manner at all times.”
The Independent has contacted Mr Nickerson and Mr Corbyn for additional comment.
Additional reporting by PA Media