Coventry & Warwickshire

Eurovision row councillor resigns over racist tweet

Nick Harrington Image copyright Warwick District Council
Image caption Police are treating Nick Harrington's comments as a suspected hate crime

A Conservative councillor who wrote a racist tweet during the Eurovision Song Contest has resigned.

Nick Harrington, who sat on Warwick District Council, has apologised for causing "considerable offence to both members of the traveller community and to those of Irish heritage".

He also apologised to athlete Christine Ohuruogu for an "ill-judged" comment he made last year on Facebook.

He has already quit as a magistrate.

In the tweet Mr Harrington made during Eurovision, he said that Ireland could keep its gypsies, using strong language.

In the post on Facebook, he likened Ohuruogu to a black scarecrow.

In a statement in which he apologised "unreservedly", he said: "My comments about the Irish border were also foolish.

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"In addition there have been comments about my Facebook post of an entry in a scarecrow competition last year which was based on the Olympics. I accept this was ill-judged for which I apologise to Christine Ohuruogu.

"Therefore it is with deep regret that I formally tender my resignation as member for Stoneleigh and Cubbington ward effective immediately."

Image caption Mr Harrington also apologised to Christine Ohuruogu for "ill-judged" comments he made about her

He added he was "devastated" by what he had done.

Mr Harrington's Twitter account was deleted after the Eurovision furore but his remarks were widely retweeted.

Police are investigating and are treating what happened as a suspected hate crime.

Council leader Andrew Mobbs initially suspended Mr Harrington for six months, saying his behaviour was unacceptable.

He said on Wednesday that his resignation was "entirely appropriate" and he awaited the outcome of a police investigation.

"I am very disappointed that his comment was made in the first place and by the reaction it generated towards the district council on social media," he added.

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