Horror and anger at political group's social media post featuring guillotine
Politicians and activists have condemned a national party's local branch for posting a message on Facebook featuring a guillotine.
In what Ukip Leigh says was intended to be a light-hearted piece, the Eurosceptic’s local representatives called for the execution device to be shipped over to the UK as MPs and peers engaged in Brexit negotiations were “selling our country down the river”.
The post went on to call the European Union (EU) a “dictatorship” and suggested that Britain could actually buy 10 guillotines at a cost of Â£39bn, the negotiated sum the UK will pay the EU for settling its obligations, “to get the job done quicker”.
The post has appalled the political community, with some activists suggesting it amounted to incitement of violence against those elected.
Leigh MP Jo Platt has also weighed in strongly against the rhetoric, saying such statements on social media were becoming increasingly common.
However, Ukip Leigh told the Wigan Post the message’s detractors were simply motivated by a dislike of the party and has since added a mocking extra passage to the message telling its followers not to actually construct the device pictured.
Ms Platt said: “This is a vile and horrific post that has absolutely no place in our politics or our society.
“There has been a worrying and significant rise in the amount of threatening and violent posts locally, but this is one of the most disturbing we have seen.
“No matter what our political differences are, central to our democracy is an assurance that we can all debate policies and ideas in respect and with civility.
“Posts like this are therefore an assault on our democracy and must be called out for the dangerous and offensive statement that it is.
“I will continue to raise cases such as these with the police and work with them constantly to help keep our local community safe.”
A spokesperson for Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield Lib Dems said: “This sort of rhetoric has no place in the UK and is no better than the vile poison projected from Islamic fundamentalists and far-right terror groups.
“In a democratic society, no elected representative should have their life threatened because of a difference in politics or opinion. If you disagree with them, let them know at the ballot box.
“Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield Liberal Democrats expect Ukip Leigh to grow up, apologise for such careless and dangerous rhetoric and consider that if they want to start being taken seriously then leave the threats at the door and start acting like a responsible political option.”
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was informed of the post but no further action will be taken as it does not single out an individual.
However, the message has been passed to a Facebook resolution officer.
Ukip Leigh was unrepentant when asked for comment.
David Hull from the branch said: “I put it on as a joke. People who don’t like Ukip are obviously making use of it.”
And an additional section appeared on the post after the reaction against it grew.
It said: “This post is meant to be a JOKE as some seem to struggle seeing that. A nanny state announcement, so please don’t rush out to your local Do-it-Yourself store for timber and metal to build one of these. Thank you.”