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TMCNet:  Councillor and ex-footballer in Twitter race row [Bristol Evening Post (England)]

[September 05, 2014]

Councillor and ex-footballer in Twitter race row [Bristol Evening Post (England)]

(Bristol Evening Post (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) FORMER England footballer Stan Collymore has been in a race row on Twitter with South Gloucestershire UKIP councillor Ben Walker. The Talksport radio pundit says he has made a formal complaint to the political party about Mr Walker, who represents Bradley Stoke North.


But Mr Walker, the former mayor of Bradley Stoke, replied on Twitter to say he has not heard anything about a complaint against him, but would "fully comply" if there was.

Speaking to the Bristol Post, Mr Walker said he was bemused when he woke to find tweets about him posted by Mr Collymore and believes there had been a misunderstanding.

"There would seem to be somewhat of a campaign against him from members of the military because of some of his views that they feel degrade those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country," Mr Walker, a former member of the Royal Navy who served in the Falklands, said.

"They tweeted me with an article about Stan losing his job with the BBC and I replied to them 'That's great, keep it going'.

"What I meant was I hoped he lost more of his jobs but he took it as me somehow inciting hate against him.

"Off the back of that he says I am a member of racists and homophobes and wants to challenge me to a debate in my council chamber.

"I think he has said some pretty ridiculous things and I could not get my head around it to start with." Mr Walker said he thought Mr Collymore would be offended by him saying he hoped he lost more of his jobs in the media, but was surprised at his reaction.

"I would be an idiot if I didn't think he would be offended but I didn't expect him to react the way he did.

"I mean - man up frankly." He also admitted carrying on the row because he was not going to let the former footballer throw around what he considers serious terms like 'racist' so casually.

"I carried it on as such because I have a real issue with people using the term 'racist' as a throwaway comment," Mr Walker said.

"I think it's an abusive term and you should not just stick on people when your argument does not have any more substance. I was not going to let it go because you should not put that on people for the sake of it and I am certainly not racist. I also don't know anyone who is openly racist or any homophobes. I don't believe that is what UKIP is and you should not make sweeping generalisations labelling people as racist or homophobic." Mr Collymore is well- known for his Twitter comments and disagreements. Legal proceedings have stemmed from racial abuse he has received from so-called "trolls" in the past. A spokesman for Paul Ridley Ltd, the Sports PR Agency which represents Collymore, said: "He has said all he has needed to say and will not be making any further comment." THE TWEETS ? Collymore: I'll cause as much offence to UKIP as I can within the law @CllrBenWalker.Your party is disgusting, has racists in it and tricks the public. ? Cllr Walker: I'm certainly no racist & if you knew me, u would know why. It's outrageous 4 u 2 make such sweeping statements. #Normal ? Collymore: I've not accused you of being a racist @CllrBenWalker, I've accused your party of having racists in it. And homophobes. ? Cllr Walker: Oh, so now were all homophobes too? Stan, I'm not sure what's rattled your cage this morning, but drop the insults. #BadFacts ? Collymore: Anyway @CllrBenWalker, back to the beginning. You actively encouraged several individuals under investigation. Let's see what happens next.

. ? Collymore: After the complaint into your conduct is concluded @CllrBenWalker, I'll be delighted to face you and counter your dangerous politics.

. ? Cllr Walker: @Stan Collymore No problem. Yet to hear anything about complaints against my conduct, but when I do, I will fully comply.

(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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