Tory chief stands by councillor who tweeted about Bianca Williams

A Merseyside Conservative chief is standing by a councillor who sparked outrage after tweeting about athlete Bianca Williams being stopped and searched by police.

Ms Williams and Portuguese athlete Ricardo Dos Santos were stopped in London on July 4.

Ms Williams said she believes officers racially profiled her and her partner when they were handcuffed and separated from their three-month-old son.

The Metropolitan Police later referred itself to the policing watchdog over the incident and Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has issued an apology to Ms Williams for the distress caused during the incident.

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On July 7, Cllr Denise Dutton, the deputy leader of Sefton Conservatives prompted anger when she posted a twitter poll asking if Bianca Williams should be "banned from representing TeamGB at all future events".

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The question was met with shock and anger from many, who asked what her reasoning was for the suggestion.

One asked: "What a ridiculous question. Well done to her for standing up against racism and wrong doing."

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Another said: "What a strange question."

Responding, Cllr Dutton added : "If she thinks the UK is so racist why would ppl want to her to represent TeamGB?" [sic]

The Formby councillor has since deleted her comments, but people are still asking for her resignation or, at least, an explanation or apology.

One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the ECHO : "Racism has no place in politics. This has been proven by [Huyton councillor Dot Johnson] being suspended by the Labour Party and later resigning [following controversy relating to a Facebook post regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.]

The organisation Stop Hate UK has a list of useful websites and telephone numbers for people who encounter hate crime, including crime online and specific types of hate crime aimed at groups and individuals.

This article by the website Vox explores what it means to be anti-racist – and features a range of recommendations for further reading on the issue.

The Black Lives Matter website co-ordinates global campaigning and awareness around the issues which have been raised in recent weeks – but which have deep roots in societies across the world.

Specific Merseyside help and support is available through the Police and Crime Commissioner's website, while the Anthony Walker Foundation works to "promote racial harmony through education, sport and the arts, promoting the celebration of diversity and personal integrity and the realisation of potential of all young people"

"So why is this not the case here? The difference in attitude implies Sefton Conservatives tolerate racism."

But Cllr Tony Brough, Leader of Sefton Conservatives, says Cllr Dutton has an "exemplary record" and "failed to fully appreciate how her comments may be interpreted".

He said: "The comments of Cllr Dutton were immediately withdrawn when they drew criticism from some members of the public.

Leader of Sefton Conservatives, Cllr Tony Brough

"Cllr Dutton intended no offence and has responded to complainants individually.

"Cllr Dutton has an exemplary record of service to her community and residents. In this matter she failed to fully appreciate the way that her comments might be interpreted and consequently cause offence.

"The Sefton Conservative Group will review the incident in due course."

The ECHO has made numerous attempts to contact Cllr Dutton, but has yet to receive any response.

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